INDIANAPOLIS — Orange is the theme of the weekend as a national campaign makes its way to Indiana and local communities.
Wear Orange Weekend is an effort through Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The national movement, started in 2015, was originally in honor of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed. Orange was also her favorite color.
Across the country, states will take part in a weekend of events to raise awareness for gun violence and its impact in communities.
“I mean, obviously, we’re aware of it, but to be aware of the ripple effect and the devastating impact it has throughout the entire community, not just the person who is involved in the shooting, and to honor those, who are living with it day after day,” said Cathy Weinmann, who leads the group in Indianapolis.
Friday’s kick-off event starts at CAFE, 8902 E. 38th Street, in Indianapolis.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mayor Joe Hogsett, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, city leaders and gun violence survivors will speak. Mayor Hogsett will also sign a proclamation, declaring June 4th as Gun Violence Awareness Day and June 4th-6th as Wear Orange Weekend in Indianapolis.
The weekend of events comes during a concerning time. According to everystat.org, Indiana ranks 20th in the nation for gun deaths.
Meanwhile, the city of Indianapolis has already reached a little more than 100 homicides this year.
“This city is suffering,” said Weinmann. “We have some of the laxest, weakest gun laws in the country and I think we see the result of that.”
“It has become just part of our culture, unfortunately,” she added, “and until we go forward to say no we won’t accept this, this is not our culture, this is not who we are, we can do better than this, we don’t have to live like this — we won’t stop until we say that.”
Events continue Saturday at the MLK Center at 40 W. 40th Street and Sunday at the Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle. Both events will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
An “In Their Shoes” Memorial will be at all three locations. Each pair of shoes represents someone killed by gun violence in Indianapolis.
Weinmann says it’s also an opportunity to recognize gun violence survivors and the impact on their lives.
“Many of our members of Moms Demand Action are gun violence survivors,” said Weinmann, “What we consider to be a survivor is someone, who has been closely impacted by gun violence. Either they have been in a shooting episode themselves, or they’ve lost a loved one to gun violence.”
“It is absolutely a scar,” she added. “It can be a physical scar, it can be an emotional scar, a psychological scar, but a person, who has been impacted by gun violence, lives with it for the rest of their life.”
Moms Demand Action will hold several other events in Indiana, including Carmel, Hamilton County, Bloomington, Tippecanoe County, Muncie, South Bend and West Lafayette.
To see events happening around you, or learn more about the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action, visit their Facebook page.