Starting today, hundreds of thousands of Americans will don the color orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Over the weekend, rallies will be held in all 50 states, including several across Colorado and one at 4 p.m. Saturday in Buckley Park, hosted by Indivisible Durango, a grass-roots activism group.
This is the fourth consecutive year of efforts to promote awareness across the nation and the first time an event has been held in Durango.
Jean Walter, co-chairwoman of Indivisible Durango’s Gun Safety Committee, said the event is part of the group’s efforts to increase gun safety, in part because of the use of firearms in suicides and incidents of gun violence across the state.
Walter, who is a seasonal hunter, said that Saturday’s rally should not be seen as an attack on Second Amendment rights.
“This is not about lowering guns, it’s not about trampling anyone’s Second Amendment rights, it’s just about awareness of how we can be safer with firearms in this country and maybe have a few less teen and child and adult deaths from gunfire,” she said.
The event will feature speakers, live music from a local folk band Rubyblu and information about gun safety and the prevalence of gun violence in the United States, which will be provided by Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.
People who attend are asked to wear orange in solidarity with the origin of the event, the death by gunshot of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago on Jan. 29, 2013.
Pendleton was killed just a week after performing in former President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade.
In response, a group of teenagers close to Pendleton asked classmates, family and friends to wear orange to honor lives lost to gun violence every year.
The color was chosen because it is worn by hunters in the woods to protect themselves and “reflects the value of human life,” according to the Wear Orange movement’s website.
Walter said the event is sanctioned by the city. Mayor Dick White signed a proclamation recognizing June 2 as Durango Gun Violence Awareness Day.
She was optimistic about turnout Saturday, based on the growth of Indivisible Durango and amount of community involvement it has received.
“I’m hoping that a lot of people will turn out wearing orange and demonstrate they know that local action can make a difference for your community,” Walter said.