Florida is hosting more Wear Orange events than anywhere in the nation, including a marquee event in Winter Park Saturday on Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The Central Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is sponsoring the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mead Botanical Garden event, one of 17 in Florida and more than 200 nationwide. Moms Demand Action was founded in 2012 by stay-at-home mom Shannon Watts, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Dr. Marc Levy, a pediatric surgeon and director of surgical education at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children will talk about the toll gun violence takes on children. U.S. Rep. Val Demings, Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Hannah Willard, public policy director for Equality Florida, will also speak.
Attendees are asked to wear orange as a sign of unity. It is the color hunters wear in the woods so they won’t be shot.
Wear Orange started in 2015 after Hadiya Pendelton was shot and killed in Chicago. The 15-year-old was gunned down at a South Side park just days after she returned from performing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Her classmates asked that people who attended a memorial for Pendleton wear orange so her death would become more than a statistic, as 93 people are killed by gun violence each day in the U.S.
“Wear Orange isn’t about politics, the gun debate or choosing a side,” said Michelle Gujda, chapter leader for the state of Florida for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. “It’s about ending gun violence and saving lives.”
The Lake Eola Fountain, downtown Orlando art sculptures and the Florida Capital will be lit orange on June 2 to commemorate Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Gujda said the group is unyielding about their hope that Gov. Rick Scott will veto the National Rifle Association-backed, expanded stand-your-grand bill.
The bill removes the word “attacked” and adds language that people in a residence have a right to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe they or others are in danger of death or great bodily harm.
It will become law July 1, if Scott signs the bill.