The Brief: People across the nation will wear orange this Friday June 7th to honor the fifth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

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DEEP DIVE

It seems like just about everyone has a hot take when it comes to the subject of gun violence. Within the last few years, gun violence has become one of the most widely-discussed topics amongst Americans, and with good reason.

A history of violence, by the numbers

In 2018, nearly 40,000 people died from guns in the United States, the highest in fifty years. 2019 isn’t shaping up to be much safer. Just last week, a public works employee opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, killing twelve people. This past weekend, 52 people were shot, 10 fatally, just in the city of Chicago.

What’s perhaps more alarming is the American adolescent mortality rate due to gun violence.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an organization dedicated to improving the public’s understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it, nearly 1,700 children and teens die by gun homicide every year.

Organizations like Everytown and Moms Demand Action are calling for an end to the violence and more importantly, they’re taking action.

This Friday, June 7th, marks National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a day when thousands of people nationwide will don the color orange as part of the fifth annual Wear Orange campaign.

The dark history behind the bright color

The campaign honors victims of gun violence, like Hadiya Pendleton, while also spotlighting gun safety. Orange is the color that Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed at the age of 15 in 2013.

What started as a tradition amongst friends, to wear orange on Pendleton’s birthday, has become a national movement geared towards standing up, speaking out, and raising awareness about gun violence. Orange has since become the defining color for the gun violence prevention movement.

Why orange? It’s the color that hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from gunfire.

According to Wear Orange, “Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen. Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation — a hope for a future free from gun violence.”

Celebrities Wear Orange

Along with Wear Orange, Everytown, and Moms Demand Action, celebs and influencers are advocating for the movement by spreading the word across Twitter and Instagram.

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness.

How You can get involved

All weekend long, advocates, young and old, will gather across the nation for rallies, memorials, and other public events.

Those who have lost loved ones due to gun violence are also sharing their personal tragedies across social media, as are survivors from mass shootings.

Anyone interested in finding an event near them can visit WearOrange.org.

In the case that someone is unable to attend an event, they can still participate by wearing orange, snapping a selfie, and hashtagging their pic with #WearOrange across social media.

 

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