UNION, NJ – A proclamation for June Gun Violence Awareness Month was presented to members of Union County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America at the Township Committee’s June 11 meeting.
Township Committeeman Joseph Florio said every day on average 100 Americans are killed by gun violence, with nearly 13,000 gun homicides every year. He said Americans are twenty-five times more likely to kill with guns than people living in other high-income countries.
June 7 has been deemed National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor Hadiya Pendleton, 15, of Chicago, who marched with her school band in President Obama’s second inaugural parade and was tragically shot and killed just weeks later. Pendleton would now be celebrating her 22nd birthday. Florio said to help honor Hadiya, those whose lives were cut short and countless survivors, a national coalition of organizations has designated June 7 as National Gun Violence Day, inspired by a group of Pendleton’s friends, who asked their classmates to wear orange to commemorate her life.
Accepting the proclamation, co-lead of the Union County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Patti Wilson-Fico said, “there have been 167 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2019, and sadly those are usually the only shootings that make the news. Most recently Virginia Beach.”
Wilson-Fico said gun violence is not just about immediate victims. The pain and the trauma will ripple for years to come for so many. Wilson-Fico asked for a moment of silence for those affected by gun violence. “In your silence,” she said, “I want you to think about this. If we spend just one minute of silence for every person killed or injured this year, we would have to remain silent for 302 hours.”
"We must honor victims as loudly as we possibly can, in the best ways we can," said Wilson-Fico. "That is why we’re here tonight. We need entire communities to join with their neighbors and come together to say ‘no more’. We can end gun violence, but it’s going to take you to stand up, show up and speak up.”