Council Members ask the community to observe National Gun Violence Awareness Day by wearing orange

June 2, 2017

Louisville – This weekend, anyone walking or driving past the Big Four Bridge and Historic City Hall Downtown will notice that both structures are aglow in the color orange. The color is to remind everyone that June 2nd is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

“So far in 2017, Metro Louisville has seen 52 homicides and more than 100 shootings, many of those actions connected to gun violence. One life lost to this kind of violence is one life to many. We must work together as a community to get a handle on this trend and stop it,” said Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4).

Sexton Smith along with Council members Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5) and Brandon Coan (D-8), David James (D-6), Rick Blackwell (D-12), Marianne Butler (D-15) and Dan Johnson (D-21) joined others at the Big Four Bridge to support National Gun Violence Awareness Day by asking residents of Metro Louisville to wear orange on Friday and the through the weekend as a way to remember the victims of gun violence.

“Earlier this week, we saw gun violence make an impact right here in Waterfront Park, place of beauty and peace,” said Hamilton. “Gun violence knows no boundary in our city. Yet we as a community must all work together with LMPD and our neighbors if we are to bring this deadly problem under control.”

"Illegal gun violence is a scourge on our city, and a uniquely urban problem in our rural state.  I am pleading with my colleagues in the Kentucky General Assembly to reconsider the strict prohibition on local firearms control and partner with Louisville lawmakers next session to make our Commonwealth a safer, stronger place,” said Coan.

The Council Members were joined by representatives of the Kentucky Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

"Wear Orange is a campaign dedicated to honoring the lives of those affected by gun violence and elevating gun violence prevention efforts nationwide,” said Laura Johnsrude of the local group. “Wear Orange isn’t about the “gun debate” or “choosing a side” –– it’s about reducing gun violence and saving lives.”

On Thursday, May 25, the Council members sponsored a special proclamation acknowledging National Gun Violence Awareness Day and calling on everyone in the community to work toward the prevention of further victims.

“We know when we work together as a community we solve problems,” says Councilwoman Mary C. Woolridge (D-3) who was a sponsor of the proclamation. “Too many people have been affected by gun violence, too many young people. The time has come to act.”

This awareness day began due to the story of one young woman who was an innocent victim of gun violence.

Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager who marched in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade would have turned 20 years old on June 2nd of this year. Tragically, she was killed a few weeks after that parade by a random act of gun violence. The day was created in her honor.

After her death, a group of Hadiya’s friends asked their classmates to commemorate her life by wearing orange; They chose the color because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods and orange is a color that symbolizes the value of human life.

The Louisville Metro Police Department reveals that there were 124 criminal homicides in Louisville Metro in 2016, the most since 1971 and that there were 100 shooting-related fatalities in Louisville Metro in 2016. The data also shows that last year there were also 397 non-fatal shooting victims in 2016

The Council members invited everyone to wear orange and attend a walk and cookout on June 3rd from 10:00am to 1:00pm at Sheppard Park, 1601 Magazine Street to end gun violence and honor the victims and survivors of gun violence.