Nine hundred and forty seven Kentuckians died from gunshot wounds in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky and across the country, gun deaths have surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of death for children.
On Friday, June 2, the city of Fort Thomas will commemorate “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” by lighting the city’s iconic tower in Tower Park orange.
Proclaiming the day
At the May council meeting, Mayor Eric Haas signed a proclamation marking the day. The statement supports the rights of law-abiding citizens as outlined in the Second Amendment but notes “this goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from dangerous people.”
The proclamation also invites residents to wear orange on this first Friday of June to bring awareness to the issue and honor victims and survivors. Residents are invited to witness the lighting of the tower.
The story behind the day
In 2013, Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC and march in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade. Within a week of coming home, she was gunned down in a neighborhood playground. To bring attention to her death, her friends began wearing orange, the color hunters use in the woods for protection.
A coalition of organizations working to end gun violence came together after the incident and declared that the first Friday in June would be a national awareness day. Thousands of cities and smaller communities across the US have marked the day with a wear-orange campaign, and some, including Fort Thomas, will show support by lighting iconic buildings with orange lights.