My family and I lived in an area where shootings were a daily occurrence. But from an early age, the idea was that if we avoided certain areas at certain times, we’d be ok. We were wrong. While walking his girlfriend home one night in 2011, my 16-year old brother Jose was approached by two men, and was shot 15 times. I remember that night vividly. I was in college upstate when I got a call from my younger brother, telling me that Jose had been shot. A few hours later, my sister confirmed what I already knew in my heart: that Jose had died.
The effects of Jose’s shooting left me in a state of shock. I withdrew from school and lived in a state of numbness. It wasn’t until nearly a year after Jose’s death that I was able to get my life back. I even got back into school — and I did this to honor his memory.
And that’s what Wear Orange Weekend is about. It’s a way for the millions of gun sense advocates to honor the lives of victims and survivors of gun violence. It’s a way for hundreds of thousands of Americans to demonstrate their strength at events across the country, in cities and towns large and small, and online as we all work towards a future that’s free from gun violence.
|IA-Iowa City-Wear Orange Celebration
College Green Park
Iowa City, IA
|IA-Iowa City-Wear Orange Faith Community Event
320 East College St
Iowa City, IA
I wouldn’t wish the pain of losing someone to gun violence on my worst enemy. It affects all of us, and there is much to be done if we’re going to end it. I want people to understand that gun violence does not have to be a norm and we have to do everything we can to fight it.
So on June 1, I’m wearing orange to honor Jose and to make sure the country sees that we’re fighting, as hard as we can, to put an end to gun violence. Then from June 2-3, I’ll be attending one of the hundreds of Wear Orange events happening across the country. And I want you to join me at a local Wear Orange event near you.
Thanks for being a part of Wear Orange Weekend.
Member of the Everytown Survivor Network
If you or a loved one is a survivor of gun violence (including, but not limited to surviving a gun violence injury, witnessing a shooting, unintentional shooting, suicide by gun, and domestic violence involving a firearm), be sure to learn more about our Survivors Network, where we support and empower survivors to share their stories, honor the lives of their loved ones, and take action to spare other families from this pain.