Mom’s Demand Action group encourages community to “Wear Orange” to remember gun violence victims

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2018

By Shavonne Walker

Teresa Rowell for the next few days will be seen wearing orange in honor of those whose lives were affected by gun violence and she hopes others in the community will join her. The Rowan County resident is a co-leader of a local group, Mom’s Demand Action.

The group will have a table in front of South Main Books today beginning at noon.

“We hope all survivors of gun violence will stop by to sign our banner with the names of those both lost and impacted by gun violence, and take home a marigold and a Survivor button,” Rowell said.

Wear Orange and National Gun Violence Awareness Day were inspired by Project Orange Tree, an awareness campaign started by Nza-Ari Khepra and her friends to commemorate the life of their murdered friend, Hadiya Pendleton and other victims of everyday gun violence.

Orange is the color that Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15, just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013.

In June 2015, on what would have been Pendleton’s 18th birthday, a broad‐based coalition launched the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Participants were asked to stand up, speak out and wear orange to honor her life and the lives of all victims and survivors of gun violence.

Rowell will be wearing orange for Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville, which is her home church, where a shooting occurred in 2008. She’ll also be wearing orange for the nine parishioners killed by Dylann Roof at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and in honor of A’yanna Allen, who was killed Dec. 4, 2016 while asleep at her grandmother’s home.

Rowell said they will continue to keep this historic momentum going by wearing orange on Friday through Sunday to “express our collective hope as a nation that we can end gun violence.”

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.