BRADDOCK, Pa. (KDKA) — Friday is the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend, a call to end gun violence.
The weekend began with a march and vigil in Braddock. People listened to speeches from the victims of gun violence after the march, which is the first of many events.
People are sharing how gun violence has impacted their lives. Many have lost children or close friends and are working to make sure no one else has to suffer their loss. @KDKA pic.twitter.com/WC7t6Gt5NY
— Chris Hoffman (@NewsmanChris) June 4, 2021
At a community garden in the Hill District, people who tend to the flowers and vegetables wear the color orange as a statement against gun violence, which has claimed the lives of six teenagers in Allegheny County in May.
The list of gun violence victims continues to grow each day, and it’s a trend that is on a disturbing rise. According to Allegheny County police, there have been 35 non-fatal shootings and 28 fatal shootings this year. Pittsburgh police reported 69 non-fatal shootings and 28 homicides. One was not by a gun.
Orange was the favorite color of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, whose death from a stray bullet sparked a national movement. For Reverend Glenn Grayson, Wear Orange Weekend has personal significance after losing his son, Deron, to gun violence back in 2010.
“Collectively, we want to say enough is enough. We believe it can stop and we’re going to do our part,” said Rev. Grayson.
WATCH: Chris Hoffman Reports
Wear Orange weekend is being organized locally by a host of organizations, including Mom’s Demand Action and CeaseFirePA. It will be observed at Friday’s Pirates game with orange lights at PNC Park and a series of events aimed at bringing people together in non-partisan ways.
“It doesn’t have to be about gun control. It’s about common-sense solutions. It can be about funding community nonviolence prevention programs. People who can go out in the community and stop violence before it happens,” said Josh Fleitman of CeaseFirePA.
But primarily, the weekend is about recognizing the crisis, hearing the stories of the victims and sharing a resolve to do whatever is possible to bring the violence to an end.
“A wonderful collaboration of friends, family and loved ones who agree and share that our young people are dying before their time,” said Grayson.
Other events are planned through the weekend. To see a full list, click here.