Community members dressed in orange came together in New Albany on Saturday to raise awareness about the need for gun laws.
The “Wear Orange” event was hosted by Indiana’s chapter of Moms Demand Action at Bicentennial Park. It came a day after national Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Kristi Charbonneau is a member of the local Moms Demand Action group. Charbonneau said she’s worried about gun violence and school shootings because she’s a teacher at Floyd Central High School.
“There is no doubt if there was, God forbid, an active school shooter in the building, I would be doing what I could to shield them. My responsibility is to protect them and having to worry about being shot because of gun abuse is not something I signed up for,” Charbonneau said.
Emily Sturgeon, the local leader for Moms Demand Action, said the Wear Orange campaign started with students in Chicago after one of their 15-year-old friends was shot and killed. She said the campaign is dedicated to honoring the lives of Americans affected by gun violence while lifting up the voices of those who want change.
Sturgeon said the color orange symbolizes human life and how everyone is bound together by a common hope to end gun violence. Orange is also the color hunters wear to stay safe in the woods.
Eighteen-year-old Olivia Storz was one of the people gathered at the New Albany event. She recently graduated from Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville, Indiana.
Storz said something needs to be done to prevent the violence, but she feels most legislators are too concerned with the National Rifle Association’s money to take action.
“It’s scary that it’s something we have to worry about when it’s so preventable,” Storz said.
The event included a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting at Santa Fe High School on May 18. Two student speakers and a gun violence survivor also spoke.
Sharon Russell attended the event as a Moms Demand Action member and to help register people to vote. Russell said people need to understand the importance of voting.
“I’ve come to the point in the last couple years where I think getting out to vote is the only way that you’re going to make a difference,” Russell said. “You know protesting is fine, but if you don’t get the people that agree with you then it doesn’t do any good. You need to vote.”
New Albany’s Wear Orange event was just one of hundreds that were held across the nation for national gun violence awareness weekend.