Why We Wear Orange on June 4th

May 27, 2021Katie Wysong and Logan Zinman

Everyday more than 100 Americans are killed by guns and over 300 more people are injured. Friday, June 4 is Wear Orange Day, a national day of awareness about the scourge of gun violence in the United States.

Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 — just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. Since then, orange has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement.

We wear orange to call attention to the epidemic of gun violence facing our country, and to fight for a future free from gun violence. We invite the Reform Jewish community to join us in wearing orange in support of the gun violence prevention movement. Typically, we would be making plans for rallies and gatherings to honor and remember victims of gun violence, and demand that our elected officials take action. As you organize and take action, please follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines when engaging in activities. Like last year, our organizing is virtual, but no less important. Here are a few ways you and your community can raise awareness and make an impact in your community and nationwide:

  1. For your Zoom Shabbat service, meetings, or Zoom events with friends, use the background below to virtually #WearOrange and demonstrate your commitment to ending gun violence.
  2. Incorporate Wear Orange Day into your Shabbat service or host your own Wear Orange Shabbat. Check out our Wear Orange toolkit for suggestions for prayers and sermon starters.
  3. Share photos and screenshots on social media with the hashtags #WearOrange and #JewsDemandAction. Make sure to tag us on Twitter at @theRAC, on Instagram at @theracgram, and @NFTY so we can share your photo.
  4. Support local violence interruption organizations through donations and sharing their work. The work of violence interrupters is vital in Communities of Color, which are disproportionately impacted by gun violence, including police gun violence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, violence interrupters have taken on the role of public health workers, informing neighbors on how to keep themselves and their families healthy and safe. You can make a donation to a local organization in your community, or advocate for state funding.
  5. Get involved in the Reform Movement’s Racial Justice Campaign as we mobilize to dismantle systems of oppression and strengthen our democracy by protecting every Americans’ freedom to vote. Securing our fundamental right to vote is essential to ensuring our Reform Jewish values are represented in the public square and is vital to making sure we have partners in elected offices who can make changes on important issues, including gun violence prevention.
  6. Check out wearorange.org for more information and resources, and tell Congress to require universal background checks on all gun sales at RAC.org/BackgroundChecks.
  7. Read Crossing Lines by award winning author Melanie Weiss and use the RAC Reads discussion guide, compiled by RAC youth leaders, to spark engaging and challenging discussion on the topic of gun violence prevention.

Join us on June 4 to honor the victims and survivors of gun violence and commit to fighting for a future that is free from gun violence. 

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