Chris Schulz Published

Charleston Activists Call For Action On Gun Violence 

A gun on a table with bullets next to it.iStockphoto

The West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action will host a Wear Orange event Friday June 2 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church to honor the lives of those affected by gun violence and elevate gun violence prevention efforts nationwide.

Diane Pendleton is event lead for the Charleston chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“Moms Demand Action is a part of an organization called Everytown for Gun Safety,” she said. “We are all walks of life. We’re a nonpartisan group. There’s 10 million supporters now and we work together for gun safety. We work together for gun violence prevention and for keeping our families safe.”

June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and the event is part of Wear Orange Weekend. Wear Orange originated on June 2, 2015 — what would have been Hadiya Pendleton’s 18th birthday. It began with teenagers in Chicago, who wanted to honor their friend, Hadiya, after she was shot and killed on a playground at 15 years old. 

“Her friends got together and came up with the idea of orange because it is the color to protect people from guns, for example, hunters,” Pendleton said. “Orange honors Hydeia Pendleton. There’s also 120 people shot every day in the United States, as well as hundreds more that are wounded.”

The event will feature speakers, food and activities for children.

“Community events bring the community together to raise awareness and elevate prevention and education. Specifically, we’re working together to keep the guns out of the wrong hands,” Pendleton said.

She said the organization is focused on keeping guns out of the places where they should not be, such as schools and other places where children are. 

“We can also prevent the unintentional shootings where children gain access to the gun and just a horrific tragedy happens in the home,” Pendleton said. “And I’ll add to that two thirds of the gun deaths are from suicide, and we believe there are ways to prevent this.”

Pendleton said the event is a call to action for community members.

“Call your state senators to demand common sense gun safety laws,“ Pendleton said. “And examples of those are background checks on every sale, red flag laws, safe storage requirements, and now a ban on assault weapons.”