June 2 was the birthday of Hadiya Pendleton. The name may not ring a bell, but opponents of gun violence first commemorated the day she was born in what would have been her 18th birthday in 2015.
Three days around June 2, proponents of gun violence prevention wear orange in honor of Hadiya, the Chicago teen who had marched in President Obama’s inaugural parade January 21, 2013 and then was shot and killed at a Chicago playground the following week.
The tragedy spurred Hadiya’s friends to wear orange, the color people who hunt don to stand out in the woods to avoid being shot like their prey.
Maybe schoolchildren, their teachers and administrators should start wearing orange to remind legislators of the continuing carnage where the innocent begin learning about the beauty of life – not the danger in congregating with peers in a rite of passage for most human beings.
Why to this day, a troubled individual may easily own guns – from handguns to assault rifles – in some states is mindboggling. Even more incredulous is that certain legislators deny the need for gun control hence their failure to deter those determined to take out their issues on unsuspecting strangers.
Many Americans go about our daily lives by saying the Act of Contrition, if we’re Christian, just in case we stand in the way of someone with a gun and an hefty ax to grind.
We can’t keep up with recent massacres anymore.
Do you remember Columbine High School 1999 in Colorado? Killed 15.
Sandy Hook Elementary 2012 in Connecticut? Killed 26.
Pulse Night Club 2016 in Orlando? Killed 49.
The Harvest Festival music concert 2017 in Las Vegas? Killed 61.
Parkland High School 2017 in Florida? Killed 17.
Walmart 2019 in El Paso? Killed 23.
Just last month at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York? Killed 20.
Not even a month after, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde outside Dallas: 19 schoolkids and 2 adults.
Within days, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Ted Cruz attended the NRA Convention in Houston, while bereaved parents and families – the husband of the teacher killed, suffered a heart attack and died while viewing a shrine to his wife – and a multitude of heartbroken citizens grieved, begging for President Biden and Congress to “do something.”
We may not have the power like McConnell et al, but we can avoid being desensitized and speak up in ways like Uvalde native actor Matthew McConaughey who pleaded with Biden for gun reform. an event, holding elected officials accountable and wearing orange, at the very least.
Wearorange.org recognizes New York gun violence prevention advocate Erica Ford for designating orange as the color of peace through her work with her organization, Life Camp, Inc. Partner organizations have grown to include 1,000 organizations including the Golden State Warriors, ensuring Hadiya Pendleton’s brief life was not for naught.
Wearorange.org recommends participation in the movement by holding officials accountable by attending related events.
People Magazine shared its support for the movement and gives recommendations on how to participate meaningfully. See: https://people.com/crime/people-call-to-action-contact-congress-stop-gun-violence/
Cherie M. Querol Moreno is Executive Editor of Philippine News Today.