BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A proclamation was signed by Mayor Bob Woodruff naming Saturday, June 2, 2018 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Berkeley Heights, thanks to the efforts of Berkeley Heights resident Robyn Schnitzer, a member of Moms Demand Action.
Schnitzer reached out to Mayor Woodruff explaining how she wanted Berkeley Heights to be part of a bigger movement. The mayor signed a proclamation that states, “Wearing orange on June 2nd, Americans will raise awareness about gun violence and honor the lives and lost human potential of Americans stolen by gun violence.” The proclamation ends saying, "We encourage all citizens to support their local communities’ efforts to prevent the tragic effects of gun violence and to honor and value human lives.”
Schnitzer then reached out again to the Township and asked if orange ribbons could be tied around trees in Memorial Park as an effort to raise awareness. The Township agreed and a group of local residents gathered on June 2 with ribbon and scissors.
The residents spoke about their own reasons for wearing orange. Dawn Bernstein, a local resident and member of Sandy Hook Promise, wore orange for the future of her children so they may live in a world without fear of gun violence. She was accompanied by her son Daniel, also wearing orange. Toiya Facey wore orange to remember all those in communities that are affected by gun violence everyday. “Many of these communities don’t even make the news,“ Facey lamented.
Schnitzer, a high school teacher, said every time she goes into a classroom, she looks for the way she can keep kids safe in case of gun violence. She longs for a future where kids don’t have to worry about their safety at school. Kamal Joshi and her two children wore orange to support a safer world and better future.
All the residents gathered agreed that it is an issue that impacts all of us locally and globally. Marc Schnitzer, showing support alongside his wife and their two children, Abby and Reed, was the best at tying bows that morning and made sure everyone had some sugar in the form of Dunkin' Donuts.
Councilwoman Susan Poage wore orange as both a sign of support for groups that are raising awareness of gun violence and a sign of hope that someday "we can all live in safer environment because groups like Moms Demand Action, the Parkland students, and Sandy Hook Promise as well as individuals involved in grassroots movements have made a difference in helping legislators understand the integral and crucial commitment to backing common sense gun laws and to finally take action."
All that attended Saturday’s intimate event said it was inspiring and moving.