Citizens Demand Gun Action in Wear Orange Weekend

Shannon Raymond, Paper Clip Staff/Writer

The weekend of June 2-4 is Wear Orange Weekend, when participants across the country wear orange and attend rallies in protest of gun violence. 


For those looking to participate, there are Wear Orange events happening in the Portsmouth area. On Sunday, June 4, at 4:00 p.m., supporters will meet in John Paul Jones Memorial Park in Kittery, Maine to march across the Memorial Bridge to Prescott Park, where there will be a rally with speakers from the community. 


The history of this event dates back to 2013, when a fifteen-year-old girl by the name of Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed. In remembrance of her and as a way of speaking out against gun violence, her friends wore orange, the color worn by hunters to keep themselves safe, on her birthday, June 2. This tradition has spread and grown into the nationwide protest now known as Wear Orange Weekend. 


The Wear Orange organization champions stricter gun safety legislation across the country to prevent tragic shootings such as Hadiya Pendleton’s. 


“Wear Orange provides a safe space for victims, survivors, and members of the community – like students – to express how gun violence affects them. It is important that victims and survivors have a voice and be heard. Through the power of these stories, supporters will be motivated to engage in gun violence prevention education and legislation in order to make our communities safer,” Kathleen Slover, one of the heads of New Hampshire Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun lobbying group working with Wear Orange, said. 


The threat of gun violence affects almost every aspect of many American lives, especially in vulnerable spaces like school. When asked if she feels the threat of gun violence at school, PHS social studies teacher Maya Glos said, “Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t have either a child, or is an employee at a school, or a student in a school, and doesn’t feel it?”


According to Wear Orange, 40,000 people are killed and 85,000 are wounded in the United States every year due to gun violence. Slover states, “In 2020, firearms became the number one cause of death for children and teens in the US, surpassing car accidents. This shouldn’t be a kid problem – adults need to do better. We need to be safer.” 


Slover emphasizes the importance of having a large and diverse turnout for the Wear Orange events happening this weekend. “We will only find a solution to the gun violence epidemic if we all work together – Republican, Democrat, gun owner, non- gun owner, veteran, student, parent, legislator. All of us.”

Hopefully, this event will show the students, children and their families that we – elected officials, local leaders, faith based leaders, parents, voters, all members of the community-  are listening, and we will take action to keep them and our communities safe,” continued Slover.