DULUTH, MN– 100 lives are cut short by gun violence every day.
On Friday, community members gathered at city hall to honor the lives of those affected by gun violence.
“We should be here every day. Gun violence has become a public health epidemic. 100 Americans a day are dying from bullets, and that’s 100 obviously too many. And the numbers are going up not down,” said organizer Joan Peterson.
Wear Orange Day came about in 2013 after the death of a 15-year-old girl in Chicago.
She was shot and killed a week after her band had played in President Obama’s second inaugural parade.
“Her friends and family wanted to do something for victims of gun violence, and so that’s why we’re gathered here today,” said Peterson.
Even though gun violence is a national concern, many in the Northland know the feeling of losing a loved one all too well.
“My sister was shot and killed in a domestic shooting years ago and it’s something that informs my views on things, and it has activated me,” said Peterson.
And recently, students at Duluth East experienced a close call with gun violence.
“Thankfully, that did not become the next mass shooting.”
Activists are turning to lawmakers to pass legislation.
“We want the Senate to pass the bills. We want these to be laws. We want to save lives and we know these laws will save lives,” said Peterson.
But they’re also turning to others in the community to raise awareness about the growing issue.
“We can change things if we really put our mind to it, but we’re going to have to make some decisions. We’re going to have to talk to people about storing their guns safely, keeping them away from children, about taking guns away from people that are having a bad time,” said organizer Mary Streufert.
To let people know there’s hope.
“You sometimes think you’re alone, and then you start talking about it, and you find out that a lot of other people feel the same way you do. Or, have experienced gun violence,” said Streufert.
Meanwhile, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson declared June 7 National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Duluth.
Next weekend, Enger tower will be lit orange to honor those affected by gun violence.