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Why people are #WearingOrange today

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Orange draws attention, whether it is up close or from a distance. That’s why the Wear Orange campaign chose the color to raise recognition for the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day today.

The campaign encourages people to post photos on social media and explain why they support the cause, using the hashtag #WearingOrange.

The 2013 death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was mistakenly shot by gang members in a Chicago park, is behind the movement.

Project Orange Tree, an organization started by Pendleton’s friends after a youth panel discussion about her death, asked people to wear orange on Tuesday, which would have been Pendleton’s 18th birthday.

“After we lost Hadiya, there were a lot of emotions going on,” said Nza-Ari Khepra, who served as a founding member and president of the organization. “The conversation motivated students and community members to get involved.”

In April 2013, the group began addressing structural inequities, such as food deserts and lack of education, which it thinks causes direct actions of violence. Community members wore orange, and the group held candlelight vigils and food drives.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control advocacy nonprofit, learned of the movement and brought it to the national level. This helped Project Orange Tree create National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Amnesty International has partnered with the campaign, choosing it as one of 10 cases in which global activism could make a difference.

It was part of Amnesty’s 2014 Write for Rights movement, an annual letter-writing campaign to local leaders to create change around select issues. Other partner organizations include Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Caliber Foundation.

More than 200 individuals and groups have joined Wear Orange, according to organizers. Celebrities and foundations, from actress Julianne Moore to the New York Mets, have shared their support by wearing orange and posting pictures on social media. Participants can also visit the campaign website to tint their photos orange in support.

Orange was chosen to symbolize the value of human life and is worn as a signal that wearers do not want to be the next victim of gun violence, Khepra said. The idea comes from hunters, who wear the color to alert fellow hunters to their presence in densely wooded areas.

The movement and choice of color has not gone without criticism, however. The National Rifle Association called the campaign “pointless” and a “thinly veiled anti-gun stunt” in a statement in its journal America’s 1st Freedom.

A party for peace in Chicago is scheduled for this afternoon. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will speak, along with Pendleton’s parents Nate and Cleo Pendleton, recording artist James Davis and survivors of gun violence.

The goal of the day is to raise awareness, Khepra said. What began in one Chicago school could spark a national discussion about gun violence.

“There are so many people that I believe will want to be part of this movement,” she said. “They just need to know about it.”

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11 comments

  • dg54321

    Because they are gullible and easily swayed by emotional rhetoric? Yeah, that’s it. Nobody should take the agitprop MDA group seriously. They are only a front for the rich 1%, like Bloomberg, trying to buy your rights from you one law at a time, via incrementalism. Do not be foolish enough to take what they say at face value and always investigate for yourself. Those that do usually find they have been lied to by such people.

  • dg54321

    Oh, and are those the same grannies that threatened to kill gun owners with poisoned cookies? Real sweet, those old ladies and just about as deranged as I’d expect liberals to be when confronted with info that doesn’t suit them….

      • dg54321

        It’s sweet that you are so scared of my comments that you have to respond to them. Still incredibly vapid, but then, that’s what we’ve come to expect from you.

  • "peety"

    orange is not my color. I don’t own orange! Great job though! So glad to see so many smart people getting on board to stop America’s #1 special interest group from costing the taxpayers even more money and lives.

  • Magnus

    One big problem here… They are wearing a color that is quite easy to be shot in… As it states in the article, the young lady this was all for was shot by gangs. I don’t know how you expect to change the gang’s minds by wearing a color for a day?

  • greg

    I didn’t see one orange shirt today. Firearm violence is at record lows, while sales and the demand for unimpaired rights (per the WA constitution) is at record high. WAGR & Peety can pound sand.

    oh – and where are all the 594 arrests for those crowds of violent felons & domestic abusers loitering on the street corners? Where is Dan Satterberg & the rest of the liars? crickets…..

    • greg

      unless you’re Dutch, in which case the 27th of April is preferred……Bloomberg & his Everytown stooges & Mom’s for Insanity really need to find another windmill – how about global warming or water rights?

  • greg sonne

    Its not the fuckin gun you dumb fuckin people iits the fuckin dumb passed that use them pull you head out an think about how its said and refresh that because its not the gun that kills you it the fuck moron that does got it