Social media turned a little more orange than usual on June 1.
It's National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and for the past several years, people have marked the occasion by wearing orange. The tradition was started by the friends and family of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in 2013 at the age of 15 on the south side of Chicago. There was nothing particularly unique about Pendleton's death. Every day, innocent children get shot. With her death, however, a community came together to say "enough," similar to the movement we saw after the February 2018 Parkland shooting.
Orange has long been associated with gun safety, typically worn by hunters so they stand out to others while shooting. Safety, not confiscation or regulation, was the driving message of the movement, which made orange the perfect color to represent it.
Celebrities and everyday citizens took to social media to show their support for the gun safety movement by wearing orange.
Actors Mark Hamill, Julianne Moore, Melissa Joan Hart, Alyssa Milano, and Mayim Bialik posted images.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kate Walsh, Ike Barinholtz, Ben Platt, and Patrick Fabian took part as well.
Felicity Huffman, Clark Gregg, Angela Basesett, Katie Aselton, and Kevin Bacon added to some of the actor-based campaign images.
Musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Spoon, The National, Cyndi Lauper, and Andrew Bird joined in.
Designers Christian Siriano and Zac Posen took part in the campaign.
Journalist Katie Couric did, too.
Gun safety is a cause we should all be able to rally around, no matter where we land on the political spectrum.
We all want a safer country, and we all believe our children should be able to go to school without having to worry about whether or not they'll come home at the end of the day. While the "National Rifle Association versus the rest of the world" mentality plays a big role in media coverage about responses to gun violence, the truth is that even the NRA's own members support many of the same actions supported by organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety.
A Monmouth University poll found that nearly 70% of NRA members support closing background check loopholes which allow the private sale of firearms from one person to another (compared with 78% support among non-NRA members). Taking steps to ensure that every person who obtains a gun has passed a background check would be a good start in keeping firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn't legally have them.
Another idea that's gaining support in some states is banning people convicted of domestic abuse from owning guns. While a federal law already bans possession for some abusers, states are making it easier for police and prosecutors to enforce.
The truth is that we're in this together, even if it's not always easy. If there's hope of changing this culture of gun violence, it has to begin with acknowledging the problem, drawing attention to it, and mobilizing for change — and that starts with all of us. If you want to take action on gun safety, visit wearorange.org for more info about how you can get involved.