Go a day without shoes

Justin Law

My journey on One Day without Shoes was a humbling one. Walking from the Health Professions building to the Rice Library seemed agonizing. The ground was icy cold, since it was around 10 in the morning.

I wanted to put my shoes on right then, but I realized that people, not just children, have to do this every day. I sat on the front steps, greeting the sun. Focusing on my feet, I thought about the children, the ones who have to walk miles through dirt, rocks and cold ground with no other choice. As an American, I’ve been granted choices that allow me to be fully clothed and have shoes on my feet every day.  The connection I felt with those kids seemed stronger than the strongest metal. I saw them as my family, and I was no greater than them.

As the day progressed, the air grew warmer and it wasn’t so hard to honor my brothers and sisters. I paraded with excitement around the quad, complimenting every barefooted person I saw, shouting out a “right on!” here and there. I was moved by the different types of people I saw, supporting such a good cause.

What saddened me was that, even though many of my barefooted comrades were marching with pride, we were a minority. I feel like everyone should have participated, for at least an hour or so: just to see how it is for other members of our global family. If we put ourselves in another person’s place, and look at things from a different perspective, we would realize just how privileged we are. A bad day for me could be ten times worse for someone else.

I really support this event, and I’m so glad it was brought to campus. I had no clue about the principles behind TOMS. The idea is genius. I do think I’ll be walking barefoot more often from now on, to keep the spirit alive. One day just doesn’t seem like enough, since people have had to do this for years, maybe even all their lives.