Gun violence is a worldwide issue, but in the United States, it is particularly unique. Written into our constitution is the right to bear arms — a right that a certain segment of the population, along with organizations backed by major dollars, thinks should be unfettered. The lack of regulation and the partisan, politically-charged conversation behind it have had devastating results: We live in a country where, according to Everytown, an organization that researches and aims to reduce gun violence, about three million children witness gun violence a year, a third of homicides are gun deaths, and two-thirds of suicides are carried out with firearms.
The repercussions in the U.S. are staggering. We lead the world in firearm ownership — and mass shootings. This is why it's more important than ever to raise awareness about the issue and promote responsible gun ownership and positive change. Whether or not you think people should be allowed to even have guns, the majority of the population in the U.S. agrees that we need more regulations on them. A 2019 Pew Research survey found that 60 percent of Americans think gun laws should be stricter.
June 5 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and to honor that, Wear Orange, an organization created in the pursuit of gun violence prevention, is asking people to show themselves wearing the color on social media in support of the initiative. The movement was started by friends of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago on January 21, 2013, a week after marching in former President Barack Obama's Inaugural Parade. As a tribute to her life, her friends decided to make a statement against gun violence by wearing orange. They chose the color as it is the same one hunters wear to protect themselves.
Since then, the movement has expanded with hundreds of thousands of people showing their support for the call to curb gun violence in America with the hashtag #WearOrange. You can add us at Allure to the list.
To show solidarity, a few of our staffers created orange beauty looks to make a statement. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, it's very clear that something's got to change.
Jihan Forbes, editor, Allure.com
"A sad fact of living in a major city is that you expect to be around at least one instance of gun violence in your life. But I was never so deeply affected by it until one of my oldest friends was shot outside a nightclub in Asheville, North Carolina, sustaining injuries that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. When I got news of what happened to him, I had an overwhelming feeling of rage. I was angry that his life had been so drastically changed in this way. I was mostly angry, though, that we live in a country where we prioritize people's so-called 'right' to access dangerous firearms with barely any restrictions over people being able to live full lives.
"The Second Amendment does grant certain rights, but what about my friend's right to happiness, to scratch his nose, to take a walk, to bachata? That has way more value to me than people having the ability to indiscriminately shoot firearms as if they're in some kind of nightmare, low-budget Western.
"Responsible gun ownership is more important than ever and the majority of Americans think that gun restrictions need to be stronger. Will it eliminate every instance of gun violence? No. But will it decrease it? According to a study done by Boston University School of Public Health researcher Michael Siegel, something as simple as universal background checks can bring down the amount of firearm-related homicides. All we're asking for are reasonable restrictions. Why is that too much for some people?
"So, I'm wearing orange in honor of my dear friend and in for all those who have been killed, or have to live with the physical and mental scars that gun violence so often leaves."
Sarah Han, senior commerce writer
"I wear orange to show support for (and shine a light on) the fight for common-sense gun laws. Guns should not be used to harm and ultimately kill people, especially BIPOC Americans, who are disproportionately affected. It's gut-wrenching and beyond frustrating to see daily news coverage of gun-related deaths and police brutality — and we cannot be silent or complicit."
Kara McGrath, deputy editor
"Growing up in rural New Hampshire, almost everyone I knew owned guns. While I've never seen any feral hogs, I do understand why having a shotgun or small pistol can be necessary to protect farm animals from natural predators. (A note: Standard practice where I'm from is to shoot the bullets into the ground or a fallen tree, not the coyotes and foxes who are just trying to enjoy a chicken dinner — a courtesy not often afforded to the human victims of gun violence.)
"I'm participating in Wear Orange Day because, having been raised around responsible gun owners, I see no need for anyone to own high-capacity magazines. I see no reason for anyone not to go through an extensive background check before being allowed to purchase a firearm. This year's event happens to be taking place in the middle of nationwide protests against police brutality, but the fact that Black people are 10 times more likely to die from firearm violence than white people should always be a motivator to fight for gun control. That fight can't end with some orange eyeliner, but the awareness it raises can be a place to start."
Devon Abelman, digital editor
"As we fight the racial injustices happening in our country, remembering gun violence is an essential thread none of us is safe from. Wearing orange is a simple way to start conversations and inspire others to take action to help prevent gun violence and hopefully end it."
Nykia Spradley, commerce editor
"It's an understatement to say that we are under a serious state of attack right now. Gun violence amplifies this to a level that just makes it terrifying to enjoy even the most basic of freedoms in this country. Our ability to live safely in the United States is largely dependent on us completely eradicating every source of gun violence."
Sam Escobar, digital editorial director
"Whether Second Amendment supporters want to acknowledge it or not, gun ownership laws have racist origins that our country has perpetuated — whether overtly in the policies themselves or through unequal (and often deadly) enforcement — for hundreds of years, yet many politicians refuse to stand for stronger regulation. I'm wearing orange this week as an outward show of support, but I will also set aside time to call my representatives, research the stances of representatives and candidates in my district, and contribute to organizations, like Moms Demand Action, working to end gun violence and racial injustice through community outreach."
Rosemary Donahue, wellness editor
"Gun violence disproportionately affects LGBTQIA+ people, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people. Unarmed Black civilians are five times more likely than their white peers to be shot by police. To protect their children at school, last summer, some parents of students in the U.S. were buying so-called ‘bullet-proof’ backpacks that were found to be completely ineffective. The gun problem in our country has been out of control for so long, and the reasons are too many to list. It needs to end, now."
Angela Trakoshis, assistant beauty editor
"It feels like every day the media is talking about another innocent individual who has passed away due to gun violence. I wear orange to honor those whose lives were shortened, who have been injured from a bullet, and who have survived gun violence."
Soyini Driskell, director of content development
"We are still referring to a document that references militias as our final word on gun rights in the 21st century — a text that deemed people with my skin color three-fifths of a human being and didn’t feel my gender needed the right to vote. Mass shootings have left lasting trauma on communities across the nation, domestic abusers can use loopholes to access guns while under protective orders, and the people we are told to trust most are killing Black and brown citizens at an alarming rate.
"Countries like England, Germany, Australia, and Japan — all places with comprehensive gun laws — aren’t smarter or better than us. They’ve chosen to enact measures that prioritize the lives of their citizens over politics, lobbyists, and corporations. Even as the American electorate's position on gun reform has evolved, the federal government's has not.
"And so we continue, raising a generation of children on active shooter drills and mourning vigils and calling it freedom."
Sarah Kinonen, associate beauty director
"Unbeknownst to me, I spent the first half of my life living in a home with guns. When I was about 15, I learned that my dad kept a firearm locked in a box hidden away in his bedroom closet. Since that moment, I lived in fear that the gun (or any gun, really) would accidentally go off and seriously injure or kill someone. Although that never happened in my home, the sad and scary truth is that guns do 'accidentally' and 'very much intentionally' fire every single day, resulting in human lives lost way too soon.
"Because of this fact, today, I wear orange in honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Along with fighting for gun control legislation and educating others on the subject, wearing orange (eye shadow) is perhaps the easiest way to start a meaningful conversation about guns — and their deadly effects on this country."
More about gun control:
Here's what one woman would say to the person who shot her:
Originally Appeared on Allure