How people are making their voices heard in the fight against gun violence.

Orange is loud, and that's exactly why it's the color of choice for commemorating National Gun Violence Awareness Day.


Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.


In the United States, a discussion about gun violence is a noisy one. With shootings happening on an all-too-frequent basis, it's sometimes hard for regular people to be heard over lobbyists and politicians when it comes to finding a solution.

Orange is also significant because it's the color hunters wear to warn others not to shoot. In that sense, orange is a symbol of gun safety.

The idea to wear orange originated with the classmates of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl shot to death in Chicago in 2013.

In 2015, Hadiya's friends teamed up with Everytown for Gun Safety to send a message. That message: It's time to take gun violence seriously. No one else should die the way Hadiya did.

Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.

The movement has earned the attention of celebrities and public figures around the country.

Celebrities like Julianne Moore...

Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.

...Spike Lee and Al Sharpton...


Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.

...Ron Howard...


...the Empire State Building even got in on the action...

...and President Obama offered his support.

But you don't need to be famous to take a stand against gun violence. The core goal of the movement is to get regular everyday people involved.

It's about using our voices to usher in change. It's about promoting gun safety.


Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.

"The number one way to prevent gun violence is to include a criminal background check on every gun sale," Lucy McBath, faith and outreach leader for Everytown for Gun Safety tells Upworthy.

"We have to close the loopholes in our laws that make it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to buy guns without a background check. I'd encourage everyone who wants to get involved to join Everytown and their local Moms Demand Action chapter and talk to their legislators about enacting responsible gun laws."


Image via Everytown for Gun Safety/YouTube.

The recent shooting on the UCLA campus serves as a reminder that gun violence can happen anywhere, and it's important to act before it's too late.

"[The UCLA shooting] shows that gun violence affects all of us and can happen anywhere," says McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in 2012.

"Yesterday's tragic events make the June 2 Wear Orange message even more important," she says. "Don't wait until it's your loved one or your community — more than 90 Americans are shot and killed every day and it's time we all come together to say we can do better — there is so much more we can do to prevent gun violence."

Los Angeles Police Department officers respond to the June 1, 2016, shooting on UCLA's campus. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Learn more about how you can help bring an end to gun violence at WearOrange.com, and watch the video below from Everytown for Gun Safety for additional information.


Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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