Tomorrow, June 2, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. We’ll be #WearingOrange.
Two years ago, teens on the South Side of Chicago asked their classmates to wear orange in honor of their friend Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the back and killed only one week after performing at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. June 2 would be Hadiya’s 18th birthday, and now, millions of Americans across the country are amplifying her friends’ call to action and turning orange into a symbol for the value of human life everywhere. Join them tomorrow in the fight for a country free from gun violence by wearing orange.
An astounding number of leading organizations and individuals are participating to help raise awareness. Cultural influencers include actress Julianne Moore, music and fashion magnate Russell Simmons, comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, musician Michael Stipe of R.E.M., musician Patti Smith, comedian John Hodgman, chef Mario Batali, and many others. MTV, HBO, and Essence Magazine will promote the event in various ways. Members of Congress from New York to California and more than 60 mayors from across the country, including those representing Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle, and Pittsburgh, will wear orange. At least 53 organizations, including Generation Progress and the Center for American Progress, are official partners, according to the official website. The New York Mets already donned orange shirts for batting practice this weekend as part of the campaign.
And just to put a cap on the day’s importance, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has attacked National Gun Violence Awareness Day, calling it “pointless.”
Taking action to fight the scourge of gun violence in America is far from “pointless.” More than 88 Americans die each day from gun violence, including more than 30 that are murdered. On average, five children under the age of 20 are murdered each day with a gun. Domestic violence is far more likely to be fatal when guns are involved: From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered by an intimate partner using a gun — more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. But still, interest groups like the NRA continue to pressure federal lawmakers to not pass common sense measures like expanded background checks, which would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and domestic abusers.
BOTTOM LINE: If you believe there is more we can do to save American lives from gun violence, join the movement of Americans across the country and wear orange tomorrow. Together, we can fight for a country where every person can live a life free from gun violence.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.