Wear Orange Day

I would almost certainly have forgotten about this very important day and this post I wrote last year commemorating the day had it not been for our friend Larry over at Just Drive, Will You who reminded me earlier this week with his own post (follow link above).  Today, I think this post, this National Day, is more relevant than ever, given the events of the past few weeks.

I typically make fun of all the ‘national days’ … I mean, there are some thoroughly ridiculous ones like National Lima Bean Respect Day, National Rat Catcher’s Day, and National Talk In An Elevator Day.  However, there are a few of the national days that are worthy of being honoured, and today is one such day:  National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as Wear Orange Day.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I hate guns and would happily see every last one of them destroyed, so it should come as no surprise that I’m writing about this day.

Until a few days ago when a dear friend emailed me about this day, I was not even aware of it … which likely means that most people are unaware.  Raising awareness is the goal of this day, and I aim to do my part to help raise that awareness.

On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago. Soon after this tragedy, Hadiya’s childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange, the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.

Wear Orange originated on June 2, 2015—what would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday. Now, it is observed nationally on the first Friday in June and the following weekend each year. In the years since, participation in Wear Orange has increased tenfold.

In 2020, #WearOrange trended nationally on Twitter with over 150,000 Americans taking part along with more than 300 corporate and nonprofit partners such as Viacom, Levi Strauss & Co., Postmates, Amalgamated Bank, the American Academy of Pediatrics, AFT, and HRC, and some of the most impactful thought and culture leaders in the country—including President Obama, President Biden, Vice President Harris, Julianne Moore, Laura Dern, Jason George, Pearl Jam, and 25 individual sports teams, including the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Bruins, and the Washington Mystics. More than 100 buildings and landmarks lit the skyline orange across 40 states + DC, including a record 11 stadiums and arenas, while grassroots volunteers hosted more than 270 virtual events in all 50 states plus DC.

According to the Everytown website:

“In 2021, the 7th National Gun Violence Awareness Day will fall on June 4, the first Friday of the month. That will kick off Wear Orange Weekend on June 5-6, which will feature virtual events across the nation.  From the south side of Chicago, to community organizers in Queens, to students around the country, we will come together to wear orange and demand a change.”

Miss Goose and I were talking and we thought that neither of us owned a piece of orange clothing, but then … I remembered that we both have Hallowe’en t-shirts that are orange with jack-o-lantern pattern on the front, so if you see someone wearing a Hallowe’en shirt this weekend, don’t be surprised!

In case you don’t think that guns are a serious problem in the U.S., here are a few facts to make you stop and think …

  • The U.S. gun suicide rate is 10 times higher than that of other high-income countries.
  • The US firearm homicide rate is 24.9 times higher than in other high-income countries.
  • The US firearm suicide rate was 9.8 times higher than in other high-income countries.
  • 7% of all firearm deaths occurred in the US.
  • 7% of women and 98.1% of all children killed by firearms were in the US.
  • Firearm homicide rates in low-gun states were 13.5 times higher than other countries.
  • On average, eight youth are killed by gun violence in the U.S. every day. Another 32 are shot and injured. Mass shootings are on the rise, averaging 11 each week in 2021.

Oh yeah, my friends, this country has a serious gun problem.  Some who love their killing toys have misinterpreted what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution … NEVER did they intend for people to own weapons not even heard of back in their day that can kill hundreds of people within a minute or two.  NEVER did they intend for every person to carry a gun everywhere they go, even to the grocery store or to church.  And NEVER did the Founders intend us to use those weapons to simply randomly kill people because we did not like the colour of their skin, what they wear on their head, where they came from, or because we were having a bad day.

The United States is literally the laughingstock of the world for our gun policies, or should I say lack of gun policies.  No, wearing an orange shirt today will not change that, but it is one step in raising awareness that guns in America are one of the biggest problems we have, one of the biggest hurdles to our safety, our lives.

To the gun nuts, I say this:  NO, the Constitution does NOT give you the right to own an AR-15 or AK-47, it does NOT give you the right to own an arsenal, and it does NOT give you the right to intimidate innocent people by carrying your gun into schools, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, etc.  You do NOT have a right to leave that gun unsecured where your child may get it and cause heartbreak.  You do NOT have a right to be in my presence with that damn blasted piece of machinery.  Period.  My right to safety and life in this case supersedes your right to have that gun attached at the hip.

No one is immune to gun violence, as proven by the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School last month that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.   So far this year 18,228 people have lost their lives to guns, and last year a total of 45,012 people were killed by guns in the U.S.  So far, I have yet to hear of that “good guy with a gun” that the National Rifle Association claim exists, but every single day I hear of a lot of bad guys with guns … people who should never have been allowed to own a gun.

So, if you own an orange shirt, wear it this weekend to show your support for human life, to demand change in gun laws, to demand action.

33 thoughts on “Wear Orange Day

  1. I may have already stated this, but as a then-admirer of Obama, I muttered ‘Say it isn’t so’ upon seeing the then-president drinking a glass of Flint, Michigan water, signifying the water system was safe to drink from, which he must have known really was not. I henceforth viewed U.S. presidents, along with Canadian PMs, essentially as instruments of big corporate and power interests.

    I know that the lead-tainting was not Obama’s doing; however, what he did was a major shock to and disappointment for the lead-poisoned Flint folk, who’d expected far more/better from him. To a lot of people, he had behaved like some TV-promotion actor hired by an (in this case) seriously ethically/morally challenged corporation.

    Though I would expect it from a Republican president or even then-president Bill Clinton, I found it very disappointing of Obama (maybe because he is Black, as were many/most of the lead-water-ingesting Flint folk), regardless of the big business and/or political pressure he probably had on his head. …

    Meanwhile the common yet questionable refrain STILL prevails among ‘free-market’ capitalist nation governments and corporate circles. It claims that best business practices, including what’s best for consumers, are best decided by business decision-makers. Yet, this was proven false when long-term care-homes put profit maximisation before their residents’ well-being, neglect that resulted in needlessly numerous COVID-19 senior-citizen deaths. … It was proven most false when the pharmaceutical industry knowingly pushed its new, very addictive opiate painkiller. … Proven most false with Facebook prioritising the expansion of its already huge profit margin over the health of its younger users. And of course there is Big Fossil Fuel’s global warming.

    It’s the immoral/amoral nature of the Big Business beast. Western business mentality and, by extension, collective society allow the well-being of human beings to be decided by corporate profit-margin measures. And our governments mostly dare not intervene, perhaps because they fear being labelled anti-business by our avidly capitalist culture.

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  2. This is possibly a repeat of a comment last year. In Canada, we have a different wear orange day, so I get to wear orange with purpose twice each year. September 30th is National Reconciliation Day, in honour of all the children who died in or were abused in Residential Schools. It was only made official last year, but it had been around since at least the 80s. Way back when, a First Natons mother made a beautiful orange shirt for her daughter to wear for her first day of school. When she arrived at the school, the teacher literally tore it off her back and threw it in the garbage. School “inmates” were not allowed to wear aboriginal clothing, but instead had to wear regimental uniforms. “They” were taking the “native” out of the culture, and replacing it with boring institutional “White” clothing.
    Whether or not the story is real does not matter. It is apocryphal. I was fortunate, I never had to go to Residential School, but thousands of children did have to. Many of them did not survive. Orange is the symbol for violence, not just gun violence. I will wear my orange T with pride, twice a year. (And anytime in-between I feel like it, to be sure!)

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    • The story of that teacher ripping that beautiful shirt off the child’s back makes me growl … very loudly! WTF are people thinking when they try to erase other peoples’ culture??? The mix of cultures, the sharing of traditions, foods, music and more is what makes us richer! Don’t people understand this??? Sigh. No, obviously they don’t. They look in the mirror in the mornings, see their pale white faces, and think that is beauty. Beauty, to me, lies in a person’s behaviour, not their skin colour, their religion, nor their gender. I, too, shall wear my orange shirt on September 30th this year! Thank you for enlightening me!


      • The sad part is, the Canadian government told the churches to do away with our culture. This is why, up to now, the Catholic Church took no responsibility for what their priests and nuns did–they were just “following orders!” I cannot “credit” this thought, but I seem to remember the Canadian government worked with an American government official to erase the native from North America. They found they could not kill us all, though they did try, so they took what they brlieved was their next best option, to kill the native inside of us.
        They killed a lot of things, but even as an often broken people, we are still here!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m surprised that the government can dictate to the churches! That would never fly here, although there are times I wish the government did have some control over churches that get out of the realm of sanity. Yes, the culture has largely been erased here, too, but the Indigenous People do work hard to bring it back and I applaud their efforts.


          • Maybe told was the wrong word, but strongly suggested definitely. The thing was,all the churches that were asked to participate did, most wllingly. The churches were different then, from now, I guess. Who ran the “Indigenous” Schoole in America? I heard they were very similar to our Residential Schools, organized by the same team, if not the same man. They both had the same goal, destroy indigenous culture.

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            • Yes, from all I heard, they were very similar in nature and intent to those in Canada, but not, I’m pretty sure, run by the same people. A horror in both cases, though.


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  4. Seems to me that “Gun awareness” is somewhat of a misnomer.
    The whole damn world is aware of guns in the US!
    A National “Ban All Firearms” day would be more productive in as much it is direct, to the point and would identify if all those high profile companies and other players are genuinely on board or merely paying lip service.
    Such a stance would soon give a big “Fuck you” to the NRA and would be a loud enough message for even the most dense politician.

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