Although we are in a time of sickness, quarantine and economic crisis, Moms Demand Action and community partners will be commemorating National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 5 in a yearly event called Wear Orange. Wear Orange began as a way for a group of teenagers in Chicago to honor their friend, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old shot and killed just one week after performing in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. We wear orange on the first Friday of June to honor Hadiya and the 100 people killed by guns every day in America.
The current coronavirus pandemic is compounding the gun violence crisis in America. We already know that the presence of a gun makes it five times more likely that a domestic violence situation will turn deadly. We already know that hundreds of children gain access to unsecured firearms every year and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. We already know that on average, 60 people die per day from gun suicide, and that access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by three times. The recent surge in gun sales, on top of stressed out people stuck at home, is making each of these problems worse. You may have read the recent headlines of the security guard in Flint, MI, who was shot and killed for refusing entry to a shopper not wearing a protective mask, or the two fast food restaurant workers in Oklahoma who were shot and wounded because the restaurant’s seating area was closed. We honor every one of these victims and survivors during Wear Orange.
This year’s Wear Orange will be a little different in light of COVID-19. Over Wear Orange weekend, you will see painted orange rocks placed around town. Take a moment to pick these rocks up and honor the life of someone you may know or someone you have read about whose life was affected by gun violence, and think about how you can advocate for a safer world in 2020. Then place that rock back down for the next person to contemplate. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, gun owner or not, please join us as we wear orange on June 5 to fight for a future free from gun violence. For more information, go to wearorange.org.
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