Gun Violence Awareness Day recognized in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Three years ago, a group of Chicago teens started wearing orange to honor a friend who was shot and killed. Since then, a ‘wear orange’ movement to recognize gun violence has grown nationally.

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“When I was shot six years ago, I was isolated from anyone who had experienced this,” said gun violence survivor Lisette Johnson.

Johnson, whose husband shot and killed himself after shooting her, says since then she’s seen a growing number of survivors and family members of victims speaking out. She says she’s happy to see an increase in awareness surrounding the issue.

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Gun violence survivor Lisette Johnson.

“It is a national call to action and it is gaining momentum,” she said.

“Safety orange is the color that hunters wear when they’re out in the field and it’s the color for safety so obviously it’s the perfect brand for this movement,” Gena Reeder with Moms Demand Action said.

The group helped get Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones to sign a joint proclamation marking Thursday officially as Gun Violence Awareness Day. Meanwhile advocates, say it’s not a political issue; it’s about safety.

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The #wearorange movement continues to grow nationally.

“You don’t have to choose between 2nd amendment rights and gun violence prevention. It’s not an either-or. You can have both,” Robyn Lowry with Moms Demand Action said.

Johnson says she speaks out so people know gun violence can happen anywhere.

“I certainly was the last person I ever expected to intersect with gun violence,” she said. “Today is about hope.”

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