Mother fights gun violence with shoes

Photo Courtesy of Elaine Lane
At a David’s Shoes Honor Life Program, people examine shoes that once belonged to people who were victims of gun violence. The shoes help dramatize the seriousness of the problem.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Elaine Lane lost her son to gun violence but she is fighting back, raising money and giving presentations to young people.
“Giving the presentations is my way to fight the gun violence,” Lane said. “I don’t want to be a victim of it. I want to do something about it.”

Lane with help from family and friends created David’s Shoes, which will be holding its 14th Annual Book Scholarship Awards Luncheon on Aug. 5. David’s Shoes is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to reduce teen gun violence by encouraging youth to honor life, through youth empowerment, mentoring, education and community engagement. It is based in Irvington.
The corporation was created in September of 2006 in honor of her son, David, with a mission “to promote love of self and community.”

David Lane II, who was the only son of David and Elaine Lane, lost his life as a result of gunfire at the age of 18 on March 14, 1998. In that same year, 3,792 American children and teens died by gunfire in murders, suicides, and unintentional shootings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Elaine Lane graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, before completing graduate studies in Learning Disabilities at Montclair State University.

She was an educator in Newark, for the Newark Board of Education for 30 years and then became lead teacher for Montclair State University’s Pre-Collegiate Teaching Academy in Paterson shortly after retiring from Newark. She remained in Paterson for four years.

At present, Lane is an adjunct professor at Montclair State University teaching courses related to teaching. Lane has created a program for David’s Shoes, which is designed to teach young people about the impact gun violence has on the family members who lose a loved one.

The program, called the Honor Life Program, is presented to youth related audiences at schools, churches and other locations. Lane shares the story of David’s untimely death and uses the shoes of victims of gun violence to make her point.
“I tell my story as a jump off point where we can talk about values and what it takes to make good decisions,” Lane said. “So they can value their lives and truly live their dreams.”

The shoes represent young people who have been killed.
“When the kids see those shoes, it makes an impact,” Lane said. “They realize this person was my age or younger than my age.”

Since she has been doing the program, Lane has been given hundreds of shoes that were worn by victims of gun violence. The first pair she used, though, were a pair of size 12 leather work boots that belonged to her son.
Federally recognized as a NJ Non-Profit Corporation, David’s Shoes has shared the message of honoring life with more than 7,000 young men women and children throughout New Jersey and New York at more than 100 locations.

Money raised by the organization pays for the presentations but it also pays for scholarships, an art program and mentors.
At all of the meetings and presentations involving young people, everyone is asked to recite an Honor Life Pledge. The pledge is as follows:

“I promise to honor my life by loving myself.
I will do nothing that hurts or harm me.
I make choices that support me because I love myself and I love others.
I respect the gift of life given to me.
My dreams are big.
My dreams are so important that I dedicate my life to my dreams.
I honor my life.
I honor me.”
“We have a mentoring program as well. The young men who receive the scholarship are also given a mentor,” Lane said. “We have a group of mentors, young men, who have made the commitment, done training sessions.”

The mentors and their mentees recently took a group trip to Washington to see the Museum of African American History.
The luncheon will be held at Galloping Hill Caterers, 325 Chestnut St., in Union at noon.
Ten young men will be given $850 book scholarships for their four-year attendance at a college or university, according to a press release from the organization.

An Educational Service Award will be given to Naseed Gifted, vice principal of Science
Park High School in Newark. The organization’s Community Servic
e Award will be given to Michael Chisolm, executive director of the Eagle Flight Squadron located in East Orange.
Tickets are $75 and are on sale through Eventbrite. For more information, contact Elaine Lane via Please visit our website to learnmore about David’s Shoes.