Lansingites join Wear Orange national rally against gun violence

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Dozens of people gathered at the Everett High School football field in Lansing on Saturday to support a national call to end gun violence.

The Wear Orange campaign honors both survivors and victims of gun violence. It all started in 2015 in honor of Hadiya Pandleton, who was shot and killed in a playground in Chicago. The orange color is meant to symbolize the safety vests worn by hunters.

Among the bands at the event in Lansing was Moms Demand Action. Member Eadie Harley said recent mass shootings, including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, have heightened the urgency for gun control.

Jennifer Johnson attended the Wear Orange event with fifth-grade grandson Keston Klaton at Everette High School in Lansing on June 4. She said they had conversations about gun violence in schools and her discomfort with active-fire drills. She would like lawmakers to pass tough gun control laws to slow down gun buying.

“We can’t keep waking up in the morning to find other children have died at school,” she said. “We don’t lay our children down to die, we lay them down to learn.”

Harley said her brother-in-law was a victim of gun violence and the event gives the community a chance to humanize gun deaths.

“It’s to make it personal to people, these are people who were loved, not just another person’s name in the paper, these are people who were loved,” she said.

Harley called on lawmakers to consider not only mental health as the cause of gun violence, but also access to guns.

Jennifer Johnson attended the event with her grandson who is in fifth grade. She said she would like to see the community unite against gun violence.

“It’s horrible because it’s happening everywhere, it could be right next to you and my grandsons school, anywhere, malls you know, you just can’t stay at shelter at home, so it can be anywhere,” she said.

Johnson adds that she wants lawmakers to enact tougher background checks and add additional measures to slow gun buying.

There were 1,454 gun deaths in 2020 in Michigan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2019, there were 1,220 deaths.

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