Council declares June 1 as Gun Violence Awareness Day

Photo by Amanda Valentovic
The West Orange Township Council stands with residents after unanimously passing a resolution in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day at the May 22 meeting.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Township Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring June 1 National Gun Violence Awareness Day, in front of a room full of West Orange parents and children at its May 22 meeting. The resolution asks residents to wear orange to honor victims of gun violence and show support for ending gun violence in the United States.

“At our last council meeting on May 8, we introduced and adopted a resolution in support of six assembly bills that have passed on gun violence,” council President Susan McCartney said at the meeting. “Tonight there is a resolution on our council agenda declaring the first Friday in June National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and residents will be encouraged to wear the color orange to show support to end gun violence and honor the victims of gun violence.”

The resolution included statistics about gun violence in the United States, which McCartney read at the meeting. An average of 96 Americans are killed by gun violence on a daily basis and nearly 13,000 gun-related homicides occur each year. Americans are five times more likely to be killed with a gun than people in other countries. Orange represents the color worn by hunters to announce themselves while in the woods and symbolizes the value of human life.

“The officials in the township of West Orange, including the mayor and Township Council, value public safety as the highest responsibility in service of the residents of the township of West Orange,” McCartney said.

Claire Keyles, a West Orange resident and member of Moms Demand Action, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control, spoke at the meeting.

“I want to thank you for adopting this resolution marking Gun Violence Awareness Day,” Keyles said. “We represent hundreds of individuals in Essex County, many of whom are here decked out in orange today, who have come together to reduce gun violence and we deeply appreciate that the Town Council has joined us in honoring the upwards of 35,000 individuals who died in the last year in the United States from gun violence.”

Keyles pointed out the many children in the audience at the meeting, saying that gun control in important for their future.

“As you are painfully aware, we are living under an epidemic of gun violence in this country,” she said. “Upwards of 96 people are dying every day, school shootings like the one that happened in Santa Fe, Texas, are happening at an alarming frequency. This is something that we all need to join together to stop, particularly for the future of these young people. We thank you very much for taking the time to give this your attention.”