Tonight while watching the Oscars, you may notice influencers wearing orange flag pins or orange ribbons. These orange pins and ribbons are worn in honor of the 96 Americans who are killed every day by gun violence and the hundreds more who are wounded—and to demand action. Just weeks after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, they’re a reminder that there is more we all can and should do NOW to prevent future acts of gun violence.
Why orange? On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed on a playground back in Chicago. Soon after this tragedy, Hadiya’s childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange. They chose the color because hunters wear orange in the woods to protect themselves and others. Wear Orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership while reflecting the value of human life.
In June 2015, Hadiya’s birth month, a broad-based coalition asked people nationwide to join in what Hadiya’s friends started for the 1st National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Ever since, Wear Orange is marked in early June to express our collective hope as a nation that we can end gun violence.
“Five years ago, a bunch of friends and I on the south side of Chicago started Project Orange Tree to honor those affected by gun violence,” said Nza-Ari Khepra, a classmate of 15-year-old Hadiya who founded Project Orange Tree and co-created Wear Orange. “It is always such an honor to witness any person support the evolution of our efforts, especially at an event like the Oscars.”
Tonight, members of the Everytown Creative Council and other will Wear Orange as a reminder that gun violence affects everyone. Americans need gun safety measures enacted immediately to save lives. Everytown is deeply grateful to all members of the creative community who have been and are continuing to use their platforms to spotlight this uniquely American crisis and to honor those affected by gun violence.
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