Scroll To Top

Tell the World You Won't Accept Gun Violence Anymore

The Fatal Connection Between Hate Speech and LGBTQ Gun Suicides

#WearOrange is about standing together against the scourge, Brynne Craig writes.

On June 1, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Americans from across the country will #WearOrange to demand an end to gun violence in our schools and our communities. In the wake of yet another deadly school shooting, this time in Sante Fe, Texas, it's more important than ever for us to stand united in the fight to end gun violence.

As someone who has worked on two presidential campaigns, I've seen the power of intersectionality to move hearts and minds. Young people, working together across diverse identities and experiences, have the power and will to make change.

The gun violence prevention movement is a testament to the power of standing together.

When 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013 -- just one week after performing at President Obama's second inaugural -- her friends wore orange in her honor and to raise awareness of the senseless gun violence that takes so many lives like Hadiya's. Orange has a long and proud history in the gun violence prevention movement, having been chosen years before as the official color of peace by New York activist Erica Ford. Her friends launched Project Orange Tree to commemorate Hadiya as well as the more than 90 Americans shot and killed every day and the hundreds more who are wounded.

Three years later, the work of those students in Chicago inspired the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Because young women of color stood together, people in Chicago and around the country wore orange and began speaking out against gun violence. Together, they sparked a movement and set the foundation for the groundswell we've witnessed this year post-Parkland.

Last year on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Americans from all backgrounds, including celebrities and elected leaders, answered the call to wear orange, while hundreds of thousands of Americans called for an end to gun violence at events online and on the ground all across the country.

This year, our calls for change will be even louder.

Students, educators, and gun violence survivors have banded together following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to say "never again." Students in red, blue, and purple states stood up and walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence. At the March for Our Lives and hundreds of sibling marches across the nation, young people led the charge -- and they've made it clear that "thoughts and prayers" from our elected leaders won't cut it anymore.

Young people have lifted up the voices that too often go unheard after school shootings make the national news -- including the voices of black and Latino students living in cities like Chicago, where gun violence is an everyday reality.

It's an important reminder that the movement to end gun violence isn't only about school shootings, but also about keeping Americans safe in their churches and throughout their communities. Every day, American communities are devastated by gun violence

As a black lesbian, I know too well the ways in which this uniquely American issue impacts my communities. Approximately 8,000 gun-related hate crimes take a place a year in our country. More than 50 percent of them are motivated by racial prejudices, while nearly 20 percent are driven by bias against a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

We don't have to live this way.

On June 2 and 3, Wear Orange Weekend, Americans will come together at hundreds of local events, from Marfa, Texas, to Chicago, to stand united in our fight to save lives. Wear Orange is a call to make this country safe for all Americans, not just some. It's a way to express our belief that a future free from gun violence is both possible and necessary. The time to act is now.

Join me on June 1 in standing up for all Americans by wearing orange and committing to be part of the solution to end gun violence.

BRYNNE CRAIG is the senior adviser to the president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Brynne Craig