Today, more than 25 cultural influencers and 60 U.S. Mayors joined the coalition of best-in-class organizations and activists pledging to “Wear Orange” – a color that symbolizes the value of human life – on June 2nd, the first-annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Wear Orange is a new campaign that amplifies existing efforts to reduce gun violence in America and helps honor the 88 Americans whose lives are cut short by gun violence every day. In the past two weeks, more than 140 groups and luminaries have joined the campaign, including MTV, Motown Records, HBO, Vans Warped Tour, Essence Magazine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Brady Campaign, and Million Mom March.
Participating cultural influencers include Julianne Moore, Russell Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Aasif Mandvi, Alyssa Milano, Padma Lakshmi, John Hodgman, Amanda Peet, Perez Hilton, Melissa Joan Hart, Tiffani Thiessen, Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio, Rise Against, Mario Batali, Anti-Flag, Nigel Barker, Grace Weber, Jon Foreman, Judith Hill, Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors, Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees and Thomas Roberts of MSNBC.
Efforts of note on June 2nd include:
• MTV – The network will change its on-air logo – as well as several of its social media avatars – to orange in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
• Motown Records – The most widely recognized record label in history, Motown will turn its iconic logo orange on its social media platforms with staff and artists #WearingOrange.
• HBO – The network will debut the trailer for its hard-hitting new documentary, Requiem for the Dead: American Spring 2014, from Emmy-Award winning filmmakers Shari Cookson and Nick Doob, which premieres on HBO June 22nd at 9:00pm EST/PST. Told entirely through social media postings, news accounts and other found media, the new documentary offers an unvarnished portrait of the human toll from gun violence in America – giving viewers a window into the lives of dozens who died from gunfire last spring through the present-tense moments leading up to the shootings and the reverberations that followed.
• Essence Magazine – Essence staff will be #WearingOrange, sharing their orange selfies on Instagram and Twitter and encouraging their readers to join in the Wear Orange campaign.
“We’re often presented with a false choice in the guns debate: that you have to ‘pick a side’,” said Michael Stipe. “But every American opposes gun violence and all of us can do more to help save lives. I’ll wear my orange with pride on June 2nd and hope people nationwide will join me in showing their true colors.”
“Motown Records has a legacy of being the voice of a generation through our artists and fostering an environment of creativity and innovation. In these times, more than ever, it is crucial for all of our voices to collectively come together on June 2nd for the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day to raise awareness and promote anti-violence so that the voices of today, and tomorrow, have a chance to be heard,” said Ethiopia Habtemariam, President, Motown Records. “We encourage fans and artists alike to join us on June 2nd by #WearingOrange and honoring the life of Hadiya Pendleton, and all those lives senselessly lost to gun violence.”
Elected officials committed to protecting their constituents from gun violence will also be wearing orange on June 2nd. Members of Congress from coast to coast, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, former New York City Mayor and co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Michael Bloomberg, as well as mayors in more than 60 cities from 20 states representing more than 10 million Americans around the country have joined the campaign. Mayors who will be wearing orange on June 2nd, many of whom plan to issue proclamations declaring June 2nd Gun Violence Awareness Day in their cities, include Mayors Emanuel (Chicago), Nutter (Philadelphia), Lee (San Francisco), Walsh (Boston), Hales (Portland, OR), Wharton Jr. (Memphis), Slay (St. Louis), Schneider (Santa Barbara), Murray (Seattle), Peduto (Pittsburgh), and Coleman (Columbus, OH).
Newly added supporters of the Wear Orange coalition include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Brady Campaign, the Caliber Foundation, CT Coalition Against Gun Violence, Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence, Media Matters, Million Mom March, MomsRising, National Council of Jewish Women, New Mexicans for Gun Safety, North Carolina Coalition Against Gun Violence, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, and Parents Against Gun Violence.
Wear Orange and National Gun Violence Awareness Day was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate the life of their slain friend, Hadiya Pendleton, by wearing the color orange. Hadiya was claimed by gun violence just days after marching in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. Her friends chose the color because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods. Orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership, while also reflecting the value of human life. 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.
Additionally, today the Wear Orange campaign released a new video telling the story of Hadiya’s tragic death, how her friends and family refused to let her die in vain, and how what they started on the south side of Chicago is becoming a national movement. You can view the video here.
Anyone can join the Wear Orange campaign by visiting wearorange.org and using the website’s pledge tool to change their social media profile picture or share why they’ll be #WearingOrange on June 2, the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day.