Today Is National Gun Violence Awareness Day
Just yesterday, two people were killed in another school shooting, this time at the University of California in Los Angeles. And every day, 91 Americans on average lose their lives due to gun violence, which adds up to 33,000 Americans killed by guns every year. This number represents a substantial public health crisis facing our nation, but it is much more than just a data point. There are 33,000 stories of lives taken by gun violence each year, stories and lives that touched countless others in their families and communities across the country.
One of those stories is of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year old Chicago teen who was shot and killed while sitting in a park with her friends in 2013, just a few weeks after performing at President Obama’s second inauguration. After her death, Hadiya’s friends decided to honor her by wearing orange, the color used by hunters to protect themselves and others.
Three years later, #WearOrange has become a national movement for gun violence prevention. June 2nd is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, or #WearOrange, a day to remember those lost and join together to fight for an end to gun violence.
This year, #WearOrange will reach more people than ever. Over 150 buildings, bridges, and landmarks around the country, including the Empire State Building in New York City, Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Welcome sign in Las Vegas, the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville, and both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls lighting up orange in support of ending gun violence in America. More than 167 mayors, 137 national, state and local organizations, and 100 cultural influencers have signed on as partners for #WearOrange this year, and community leaders in 47 states have taken the pledge and are hosting over 200 events to bring #WearOrange to their neighborhoods. Generation Progress, the youth outreach arm of the Center for American Progress, is collecting the stories, music, and art of young people impacted by gun violence in communities across the country and sharing them on their website.
The movement to end gun violence is stronger than ever, with millions of Americans across the country raising their voices to call on our elected leaders to take action to save lives. There has been substantial progress in many states to enact strong new gun laws, such as background checks for all gun sales and laws that require domestic abusers to surrender their guns, as well as increasing calls for additional resources to help address many of the underlying causes of gun violence in the community. Yet, despite this growing public support and progress in the states, Congress has failed to take any meaningful action since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. This means that there remain significant gaps in our federal laws that allow people who pose an increased risk to community safety to continue to have easy access to guns.
Every 15 minutes, an American is killed by gun violence. And every year that this continues, the voices of #WearOrange are growing louder. On June 2, join the thousands of Americans remembering victims of gun violence, pledge to #WearOrange to honor the lives of victims of gun violence in the United States, and commit to taking action to end gun violence. Don’t forget to share a picture and why you are raising awareness for gun violence prevention using the hashtag #WearOrange on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
BOTTOM LINE: Every day, 90 Americans lose their lives to gun violence. There are common sense solutions that millions of Americans—even gun owners and many Republicans—support, but Congress has refused to act. It’s time to take action to end gun violence.
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