I'm wearing orange today. I have my orange American flag pin on, too. I want to remind the world that hunters wear orange to keep themselves and one another safe. I want to remind the world that I don't care if you have a gun, as long as you are sane and trained and careful. I want to remind the world that this is not a great deal to ask... to remind them that Christina-Taylor would be thinking about high schools right now... to remind them that visiting with one's Congresswoman should not be an occasion for violence.
The #WearingOrange campaign was started by the friends of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago high school student gunned down a week after she and her classmates performed for President Obama. Her parents, Cleo and Nate Pendleton, penned this Op Ed for the Chicago Sun Times.
I'm probably breaking all kinds of journalistic integrity doctrines, but I am reposting it here for you to read. If you're not dressed already, maybe you have something orange to wear, too? As the Pendleton's say, it's not about the 2nd Amendment but rather: if you believe there is more we can do to save American lives from gun violence, wear orange.
Two years ago, in an instant, our lives changed forever. Our daughter Hadiya was shot and killed at a park near her school here in Chicago. Hadiya was bright, talented and compassionate. Her smile lit up the room. She was a spectacular source of joy and pride for our family. Only a week before her death, she performed in President Obama’s second inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C.
By wearing orange, we reaffirm the right of every American to live a life free from gun violence. It’s a simple message that’s catching on. In the same way pink has become synonymous with breast-cancer awareness, and red has become the universally recognized color for AIDS awareness, we hope orange will be the same for those affected by gun violence.
Two years have passed, and getting through June 2 each year without Hadiya never gets any easier. But it helps to know that we are not alone. We are united with her friends and thousands of other Americans in calling for more to be done to end gun violence in America. National Gun Violence Awareness Day is a day to come together, no matter where we stand politically, and honor those who have lost their lives.
We have decided to dedicate our time and energy to making sure that no one has to experience the grief we feel in losing our daughter. There is nothing that we can do to bring our daughter back but we will do everything in our power to prevent others from having to experience what we have. On that fateful day a gun stopped our Hadiya from going to college, having her own family and bringing joy to everyone she met.
We have traveled all over the country to share our story, raise our voices and stand with all other families affected by gun violence in the hope that one day, no parent will have to hear the news their child has been shot and killed. We ask that every American join us on Tuesday.
Stand up. Make your voice heard. Wear orange.
Cleo and Nate Pendleton’s daughter, Hadiya, was fatally shot Jan. 29, 2013 on the South Side. She was 15.