By C.B. Radio
In January 2013, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton and her friends performed at President Obama’s second inaugural parade, a perfect opportunity for the youngsters to engage in politics and honor their hometown president. A popular student at King College Prep High School in south side Chicago, Hadiya was smart, dedicated, hard-working, and kind. One week after the inauguration, she was shot and killed.
Hadiya was not the target. On a mild winter day during the post-inaugural haze in Chicago, two men noticed Hadiya and her friends hanging out on a street corner “just a mile away” from President Obama’s Chicago home, as NPR would later point out. The shooters mistook the teens for a rival gang and fired the shots that took Hadiya’s life.
Shortly after the shooting, Hadiya Pendleton’s friends, many of whom were still reeling from trauma, bravely did what so many young victims of gun violence do today: they took to the streets and spoke out. The group chose to wear orange, encouraging protesters to don the striking color to honor Hadiya and raise awareness of the hundreds of others who die at the hands of one or more shooters nearly every day in the U.S.
Hadiya Pendleton is just one of the countless victims of senseless shootings in our country, but her story serves as a catalyst for change. More than six years after her death, the “Wear Orange” movement has blossomed, bringing awareness to a litany of issues related to gun violence, which isn’t limited to homicides and accidental shootings: suicide, especially among veterans, is an increasingly serious problem in our country, as access to mental health care becomes more difficult for many U.S. citizens, especially those in poverty.
This weekend in Joplin, ‘Moms Demand Action’ – a grassroots movement fighting to fix lax gun laws and legal loopholes that put guns in dangerous hands – brings ‘Wear Orange Weekend’ to the Four States. It’s an opportunity for local demonstrators to not only honor victims of gun violence, but to make their own voices heard in an attempt to enact change. If you live near Joplin, you can make your voice heard, too.
What to Expect:
National Gun Violence Awareness Day is this Friday, June 7. On Saturday, June 8, ‘Moms Demand Action’ will host its own ‘Wear Orange’ concert in Joplin at Landreth Park.
The Joplin event kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday with performances by:
-Richard Hugh Roberts
There will be great food from:
-Driveway Diner BBQ
-The Bacon-Me-Crazy food truck.
Bring your whole family! There will be water balloons and rock painting for the kids.
Organizers will also be accepting donations to the Lafayette House.
A big ‘thank you’ to Dawn Sticklen and all the organizers for putting on this great event.
For a full schedule and to RSVP:
-text ORANGE to 64433 or
-visit http://every.tw/312OsRh or
-visit Joplin Wear Orange Event on Facebook