MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Friday, June 2, members of the South Orange, Maplewood, and Essex County community gathered at the Gazebo at the Hilton Library in Maplewood for the 2nd annual Wear Orange rally to raise awareness of gun violence.

Both Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum attended and spoke at the rally.

Other rally speakers were Reshma Ketkar and Mara Bernstein of Moms Demand Action,Township Committee Member Frank McGhee, and Khadijah Costley-White of SOMA: Addressing Race & Inequality.

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Wear Orange is a national event begun by teens in Chicago in memory of their friend, Hadiyah Pendleton, whose life was cut short by gun violence in 2013, just one week after she participated in President Obama’s inaugural parade. 

"SOMA will wear orange for Hadiya and to honor the more than 90 lives cut short and the hundreds more injured by gun violence every day — and to demand action," stated a release from event organizers.

The rally is "against the racism that makes money for gun manufacturers and the NRA," stated organizers, as well as "to stand for common sense gun safety measures, to learn gun safety, and to speak out for the right of all of our neighbors to live free from fear of gun violence."

Last year over 40 people gathered in Memorial Park in Maplewood to take a group photo in orange and to learn how to protest gun violence and to stand up for common sense gun safety measures, such as keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. This year, over 50 people, including children, attended the rally which was organized by Rachel Fisher of SOMA Moms Demand Action. The event was co-sponsored by SOMA Moms Demand Action, North Jersey Pride, and SOMA: Addressing Race & Inequality.

All photos courtesy of Carl Patterson of CP Photo Op Photography.