A coalition of celebrities, community organizations and gun control groups are asking Americans to “Wear Orange” June 2 to mark the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“The idea was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate the life of a slain friend by wearing orange,” gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety said in a statement. “They chose the color because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods.”
After being mistaken for a gang member, 15-year-old Pendleton was reportedly shot and killed at a Chicago park January 2013, just a week after participating in President Obama’s inauguration ceremony.
“This June 2nd would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday,” Everytown said. “First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at what would have been Hadiya’s graduation ceremony on June 9th.”
Those participating in the commemoration include actors Julianne Moore, Sarah Silverman and Michael Stipe and organizations 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.
“Our daughter Hadiya was a beautiful girl who was full of laughter and had her whole life ahead of her,” said her mother, Cleopatra Pendleton. “Too many Americans are dying every day from senseless acts of gun violence and it has to stop. We don’t want other parents to endure the pain and suffering our family has these past few years. We are honored to know that so many Americans will join us and Wear Orange on June 2nd to celebrate Hadiya’s life and the lives of all those taken by gun violence.”
There have been a total of 761 shooting victims in Chicago this year and 2,589 in 2014, according to an ongoing tally by the Chicago Tribune.