NEW YORK CITY — Today a number of leading gun violence prevention organizations and elected officials joined the coalition of best-in-class organizations, cultural influencers, community members and activists pledging to “Wear Orange” (www.wearorange.org) on June 2nd. Wear Orange is a new campaign that aims to 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 designated June 2, 2015 as the first annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. On this day, campaign partners have invited everyone who agrees we can do more to save American lives from gun violence to do one simple thing: Wear Orange.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) are among the first members of Congress to join the campaign.
Since Wear Orange was announced last week, the number of gun violence, domestic violence, mental health and suicide prevention, as well as faith-based and other social action organizations supporting the campaign has more than doubled. New partners include Americans for Responsible Solutions, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, CeaseFirePA, Center for American Progress (CAP), Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, CREDO, International Action Network Against Small Arms (IANSA), MoveOn.org Civic Action, National Network to End Domestic Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Rhode Island Coaltion to Against Gun Violence (RICAGV), Sandy Hook Promise, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Stop Handgun Violence, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Team 26, WAVE Educational Fund and Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV).
Partners previously announced 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.
Wear Orange and National Gun Violence Prevention Day 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.
Anyone can join 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
- Commit to responsible gun ownership
- Keep our children safe from gun violence
Additional coalition partners, ambassadors, events and campaign developments will be announced next week.