Today a broad coalition of leading organizations, cultural influencers, community members and activists unveiled “Wear Orange” (www.wearorange.org), a new campaign that will amplify existing efforts to reduce gun violence in America.
To help honor the 88 Americans whose lives are cut short by gun violence every day — and the countless survivors whose lives are forever altered by shootings each year — the coalition has designated June 2, 2015 as the first annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. On this day, campaign partners invite everyone who agrees we can do more to save American lives from gun violence to do one simple thing: Wear Orange.
The idea was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate the life of a slain friend by wearing orange. They chose the color because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods. Their friend — Hadiya Pendleton, a 15 year old high school student — marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade and was tragically shot and killed back in Chicago just a week later. This June 2nd would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday; First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at what would have been Hadiya’s graduation ceremony on June 9th.
The coalition includes a wide cross section of gun violence, domestic violence, mental health, suicide prevention and faith-based organizations doing work proven to save lives. Early partners, in alphabetical order, include Amnesty International USA, Everytown for Gun Safety, Generation Progress, Hadiya’s Promise, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, The JED Foundation, Know Your IX, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Project Orange Tree and The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) and NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement.
“Our daughter Hadiya was a beautiful girl who was full of laughter and had her whole life ahead of her,” reflected her mother, Cleopatra Pendleton. “Too many Americans are dying every day from senseless acts of gun violence and it has to stop. We don’t want other parents to endure the pain and suffering our family has these past few years. We are honored to know that so many Americans will join us and Wear Orange on June 2nd to celebrate Hadiya’s life and the lives of all those taken by gun violence.”
Gun violence prevention champions Julianne Moore, Sarah Silverman and Michael Stipe have joined in early and will call on fans to Wear Orange on June 2nd. Anyone can join in the campaign by visiting wearorange.org and using the site’s pledge tool to change their social media profile picture or share why they’ll be #WearingOrange on the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Originating in hunting culture, orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership. But orange also reflects the value of human life. When hunting in the woods, it’s expected you’ll take aim at a deer or bird – but you’re also obligated to take care with your life and the lives of fellow hunters.
By wearing orange on June 2nd, Americans will pledge to:
• Honor the lives – and lost human potential – of Americans stolen by gun violence
• Do all we can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands
• Be responsible gun owners and keep our children safe
Additional coalition partners, ambassadors, events and campaign developments will be announced in the weeks ahead.