“Wear Orange” Campaign Inspired by Chicago Teens Who Refused to Be Silent in the Face of Daily Gun Violence
NEW YORK CITY —Yesterday, more than 700 influencers, corporations, elected officials, partner organizations and a series of iconic landmarks joined the Wear Orange campaign for the second annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence and to declare that we as a country must do more to reduce gun violence. Spearheaded by volunteers and supporters across the country, events to celebrate National Gun Violence Awareness Day, coined Orange meet-ups, took place in more than 200 cities nationwide with marquee events taking place in Chicago, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
The Wear Orange campaign and National Gun Violence Awareness Day grew exponentially in its second year. Select highlights from yesterday vs. a year ago include:
- On June 2, 2015, 55,000 people posted on social media to show their support for the campaign; yesterday, more than 200,000 people participated.
- In 2015, the #WearOrange hashtag generated 220 million impressions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; yesterday, according to data from Crimson Hexagon, that number increased seven-fold.
- In 2015, there was one offline event for National Gun Violence Awareness Day – the first-ever Party for Peace in Chicago. Yesterday, there were more than 200 events across the country.
- In 2015, four buildings lit orange; yesterday, more than 125 landmarks around the country including the Empire State Building were illuminated in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The Wear Orange campaign was inspired by friends of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago high school student killed by gunfire, who decided to honor her life by wearing orange – the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others. Yesterday would have been Hadiya’s 19th birthday.
“We choose to Wear Orange on June 2, Hadiya’s birthday, because we want to share the joy and light that Hadiya brought into our lives with you and with everyone in this movement,” said Nate and Cleo Pendleton, whose daughter Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in Chicago, founders of Hadiya’s Promise, a Wear Orange coalition partner. “On behalf of all survivors of gun violence, our family and our community, we are moved to see that light has spread to millions of Americans who made their voices heard and chose to #WearOrange with us.”
“Wear Orange is about changing how people view our nation’s problem with gun violence from an inevitable reality to something we have the power to change,” said Nza-Ari Khepra, founder of Project Orange Tree and co-creator of Wear Orange. “We chose the color orange because orange is loud, orange demands attention and yesterday, America listened. From coast to coast, millions of Americans added their voices to this effort to see a future free from gun violence.”
Other highlights from the second annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day include:
- Some of the biggest social influencers in the world helped spread the #WearOrange message yesterday, including President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian West, Steph Curry and Amy Schumer. Other notable participants included JJ Abrams, Anti-Flag, Judd Apatow, Elizabeth Banks, David Alan Basche, Troian Bellisario, Andrew Bird, Lorraine Bracco, Amy Brenneman, Connie Britton, Rosanne Cash, Chance the Rapper, Josh Charles, Tommy Chong, Kenneth Cole, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Rachel Dratch, Mia Farrow, Jason George, Chelsea Handler, Ian Harding, Melissa Joan Hart, Perez Hilton, Ron Howard, Arianna Huffington, Bianca Jagger, Donna Karan, Spike Lee, Julianne Moore, Natalie Morales, Denis O’Hare, Holly Robinson Peete, Zac Posen, Alysia Reiner, Adam Scott, Naomi Scott, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Brooke Shields, Sarah Silverman, Russell Simmons, Tim Simons, John Slattery, Spoon, Gloria Steinem, Michael Stipe, TV on the Radio, William Valdes, Rita Wilson, Sasheer Zamata and Rachel Zoe. A full list of influencers is available here.
- Professional sports teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks supported the campaign on social media and on billboards. The Superdome in New Orleans lit orange and NBA players including Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah continued to show their support for gun safety on June 2.
- “The Rens” – a New York-based youth basketball league – started wearing orange patches last fall after two players were badly hurt by gunfire and two others were accused of having fired guns. Since then, they have inspired more than 300 basketball teams nationwide to adopt the orange patch. As part of the Wear Orange campaign, The Rens rocked their orange patches for a pick-up game on the White House basketball court against White House staff.
- Nearly 150 corporate and non-profit partners joined the Wear Orange coalition on June 2. From turning on-air logos and social media avatars orange to creating content related to gun violence prevention for their platforms to encouraging staff to #WearOrange, each partner found a unique way to elevate the Wear Orange message to their supporters and followers. A full list of current partners can be found here. A few highlights below:
- Spearheaded by a gun violence survivor in Boston who has been working hard to turn the city orange reached out to Lamar, a national billboard company, and shared her story with them as the mother of a son killed in Virginia Tech. Lamar donated more than 70 billboards across the country to advertise the Wear Orange message.
- Snapchat created two filters in honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange.
- Viacom and its brands lent extensive support to the Wear Orange campaign, including donating on-air PSA inventory across several networks in May, turning BET, EPIX, MTV, TV Land and VH1 on-air logos orange and lighting Paramount’s iconic water tower on its Hollywood lot orange.
- Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America, became the first Spanish-language broadcast Wear Orange partner. This year’s efforts included Spanish-language materials including PSAs and a translated website: VisteDeNaranja.org in addition to Univision’s Spanish-language platforms, on-air, digital and radio, the English-language networks and platforms of the Fusion Media Group, a recently announced division of UCI, also participated in #WearOrange – including FUSION, THE ROOT, and FLAMA.
- As a result of strong grassroots outreach, more than 150 key buildings and landmarks nationwide turned orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day – including the Empire State Building, Crain Communication Building in Chicago, the Superdome in New Orleans, Niagara Falls, the Skywheel in Myrtle Beach and TD Garden in Boston. A full list of landmarks can be found here.
- Capitol Hill was painted orange as Senators and Representatives from across the country showed off their orange sweaters, jackets, ties, ribbons, socks and posters to call for Congress to take action to reduce gun violence. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced a resolution to recognize June 2 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. And countless members of both the House and Senate tweeted #WearOrange to show off their photos and add their voices in support of reducing gun violence.
- More than 150 state lawmakers from states across the country participated in National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
- Governor Dayton (MN), Governor Hassan (NH), Governor Hickenlooper (CO), Governor Malloy (CT) and Governor McAuliffe (VA) issued proclamations declaring June 2 National Gun Violence Awareness Day in their respective states and Governor Raimondo (RI) and Governor Inslee (WA) participated by wearing and sharing orange on June 2.
- State houses in Harrisburg, Nashville, and Providence and the Governor’s mansion in Richmond all lit up orange.
- Resolutions declaring June 2 National Gun Violence Awareness Day were introduced by state legislatures in California, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
- And nearly 200 Mayors representing over 36 million constituents participated in Wear Orange this year—including more than 170 proclamations declaring June 2 National Gun Violence Awareness Day. A full list of mayors can be found here.
The Wear Orange campaign and National Gun Violence Awareness Day was a collaboration between organizations, cultural influencers, political figures, activists, survivors and everyday Americans who believe that we can do more to save American lives from gun violence.
“Yesterday we demonstrated the diversity, breadth and power of the movement to end gun violence in America. But this isn’t about just wearing orange on June 2 – we need to ‘roll up our orange sleeves’ and support the groups that do the hard work of reducing gun violence all year long,” said Jason Rzepka, Director of Cultural Engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety, a Wear Orange partner. “Today we call on those who made #WearOrange a national phenomenon yesterday to take the next step and join or make a small donation to any of the non-profit partners in the Wear Orange coalition.”