Just 21 weeks into 2018, there have already been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than one shooting a week, according to data compiled by CNN, which is helping to propel, in part, the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to host a Wear Orange/Gun Violence Awareness Event on Thursday, May 31 in Palm Springs.

At 5 p.m., there will be a “Stand-Up” Wear Orange peaceful protest along Ramon Road, east of the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs. The protest will be followed at 6 p.m. by a Wear Orange Rally with speakers inside Mizell Senior Center, 480 South Sunrise Way, Palm Springs.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a photo of a loved one lost to gun violence.

Smith said her passion for this issue is prompted by both personal and community reasons.

“These mass shootings have caused a lack of trust in communities when we go out in public places,” Smith told Uken Report. “I do not understand why people put up with it without standing up, without rising up and demanding  change.”

On a personal level, Smith said she has a mentally ill relative in Massachusetts who was able to legally buy three firearms – a rifle, a shotgun and a pistol.

One of her 15-year-old relatives shot and killed himself with his father’s gun.

And, she has three grandchildren in North Carolina, one of whom  attends an elementary public school. North Carolina has some of the worst gun laws in the country, Smith said. Bar patrons can bring a gun into the establishment with them.

“I worry about my grandchildren,” she said.

Smith said she also has two grandchildren in Australia, which has some of the best gun laws.

Four speakers, all of whom are gun-violence survivors, are on deck to speak. They are:

  • Brian McDaniel, 2018 California Teacher of the Year
  • Pastor Talib McMicheaux, First Community Baptist Church, Desert Hot Springs
  • Mily Trevino-Sauceda, an activist for immigrants’ and migrant-women’s rights, and
  • Rick Loftus, who has treated gunshot victims.

Gun violence ravages too many families and neighborhoods — especially in our cities — and disproportionately affects communities of color, as well as other marginalized groups including the LGBTQ community. We are dedicated to working together to make this country safe for all Americans, not just some.

To honor the more than 96 Americans shot and killed every day and the hundreds more wounded, the Wear Orange campaign encourages  everyone who agrees more  can be done to save American lives from gun violence to do one simple thing: #WearOrange – a color that symbolizes the value of human life at Wear Orange events now through June 3, 2018.

The local chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Courageous Resistance have teamed up to hold Wear Orange activities in the Coachella Valley.

Wear Orange is dedicated to honoring the lives of Americans affected by gun violence and elevating the voices of every American who demands an end to gun violence. This year’s theme is “Use Your Voice.”

Wear Orange and National Gun Violence Awareness Day were inspired by Project Orange Tree, an awareness campaign started by Nza-Ari Khepra and her friends to commemorate the life of their murdered friend, Hadiya Pendleton and other victims of everyday gun violence.