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Lansingites join national Wear Orange rally against gun violence

Melorie Begay
In the wake of multiple mass shooting across the U.S., advocates against gun violence gathered June 4 at Everette High School in Lansing to participate in the national Wear Orange event.

Dozens of people gathered at Everett High School’s football field in Lansing Saturday in support of a nationwide call to end gun violence.

The Wear Orange campaign honors both survivors and victims of gun violence. It started in 2015 in honor of Hadiya Pandleton who was shot and killed at a playground in Chicago. The color orange is meant to symbolize safety vests worn by hunters.

Among the groups present at the event in Lansing were Moms Demand Action. Member Eadie Harley said recent mass shootings, including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, have escalated the urgency for gun control.

Melorie Begay
Jennifer Johnson attended the Wear Orange event at Everette High School in Lansing on June 4 with her fifth-grader grandson. She said they've had conversations about gun violence in schools and his unease with active shooter drills. She'd like lawmakers to enact strict gun control laws to slow the purchase of firearms.

“We can't keep waking up in the morning and finding out more children have died in school,” she said. “We don’t drop our children off to die, we drop them off to learn.”

Harley said her brother-in-law was a victim of gun violence and the event offers the community a chance to humanize gun deaths.

“It’s to make it personal for people, these are people who were loved, not just another person’s name in the newspaper, these are people who were loved,” she said.

Harley called for lawmakers to not only consider mental health as the cause of gun violence but also access to firearms.

Jennifer Johnson attended the event with her grandson who is in the fifth grade. She said she’d like to see the community unite together against gun violence.

“It’s horrible because it’s happening everywhere, it could be right next door to you and my grandsons school, wherever, malls you know, you just can’t stay sheltered at home, so it can be anywhere,” she said.

Johnson adds she wants lawmakers to enact stricter background checks and add additional measures to slow the purchase of firearms.

There were 1,454 deaths caused by firearms in 2020 in Michigan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2019, there were 1,220 deaths.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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