MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Members of the South Orange, Maplewood, and Essex County community will gather at the Gazebo at Hilton Library in Maplewood on Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. 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 plan to attend according to event organizers.
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.
Why orange? Organizers explain that "orange is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from harm. Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen. Orange expresses our collective hope as a nation — a hope for a future free from gun violence." Organizers encourage participants on Friday to wear orange, but explained, "if you don’t own any orange clothing, don’t worry—we’ll have free buttons, stickers and signs as well as t-shirts for sale."
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 organizers expect a much larger crowd as SOMA Moms Demand Action is joined by North Jersey Pride and SOMA: Addressing Race & Inequality.