It’s hard not to feel powerless in the face of the frequent gun violence (especially after today’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport). Instead of just wishing she could help, Toby Milstein took action. Like countless others, Toby was distraught when she heard the news of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. She worried that her brother, who was in Colorado that summer, had been injured. She soon learned he was safe, but she couldn’t stop thinking about how often she’d been seeing mass shootings in the news.
Toby, a senior at Barnard College in New York City, also noticed the popularity of guns and skulls in fashion. The imagery, which she refers to as “aggressive iconography,” became her inspiration to create a necklace with the shape of a gun on the pendant. The words “Wear It: Don’t Bear It” are displayed on the pendant to remind those who wear it to be responsible with firearms.
Milstein sold a few pendants to family and friends, but after the massacre of 27 children and adults in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, last year, she took things to the next level. She now sells the pendants at her Etsy shop and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to Bereaved Parents of the USA, an organization which helps families who have lost a child. Additionally, she has donated about $1,500 to Newtown, Connecticut families in the past year. She has received all kinds of support and was even asked to work with Kenneth Cole on the jewelry. She now has plans to expand the line to create lapel pins and t-shirts. You can visit her “Wear It: Don’t Bear It” website here to get involved.