Last night, dozens gathered in Courthouse Plaza to wear orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The rally was organized by Moms Demand Action. Among those attending were family members of gun violence victims and a number of elected officials.
Arlington School Board member Barbara Kanninen issued the following statement about the event.
On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. One week later, just after taking final exams, Hadiya was shot and killed in a Chicago park.
First Lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya’s funeral and three weeks later, President Obama talked about Hadiya in his State of The Union address. He talked about how she loved Fig Newtons and that she was a majorette.
Later that year, on Hadiya’s birthday, June 2nd, Hadiya’s friends began the Wear Orange Campaign. They chose orange because it was Hadiya’s favorite color. It’s also what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.
On average, 48 children and teens are shot and 7 die from their injuries each day in the United States.
What started in a south side Chicago high school to celebrate Hadiaya has turned into a nationwide movement to honor all lives cut short by gun violence. Wear Orange is also a celebration of life – and a call to action to help save lives from gunfire.
Wear Orange is sponsored by the National PTA, National Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, YWCA and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, among many other groups and organizations.
Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, we remember Hadiya, the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the students of Virginia Tech, and the many, many students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, who have been injured or killed by guns. This includes students who attended school right here in Arlington and have died far too young, due to suicide.
Thank you for supporting Wear Orange, for raising awareness, and for remembering all those affected by gun violence, especially the children.
Video by Omar DeBrew