Civil Rights

Moms Demand hold Wear Orange event in memory of gun violence victims

The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, hosted a community event at the Southside Cultural Center on Sunday to “to honor the lives of those affected by gun violence and to elevate gun violence prevention efforts nationwide.” The event was held as part of Wear Orange Weekend and
Photo for Moms Demand hold Wear Orange event in memory of gun violence victims

Published on June 3, 2019
By Steve Ahlquist

The Rhode Island chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, hosted a community event at the Southside Cultural Center on Sunday to “to honor the lives of those affected by gun violence and to elevate gun violence prevention efforts nationwide.” The event was held as part of Wear Orange Weekend and National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 7.

Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor, after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 — just one week after performing in President Barrack Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. Orange is the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others and a color that reflects the value of human life. Hundreds of Wear Orange events will take place across the country for Wear Orange Weekend.

In addition to performances and activities, there was a short speaking program emceed by Christine Bandoni, a volunteer with Rhode Island’s Moms Demand Action.

“I want to take a moment to recognize those who have personally experienced gun violence who are present. These individuals understand the devastating toll of gun violence in our country. I want to thank each of you for joining us today and channeling your pain into a call for change,” said Bandoni, before calling for a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Virginia Beach Shooting, mere days before. “In our little state of Rhode Island we have been mighty in working towards gun violence prevention. Over the last several years we have grown into a grassroots organization of people from all over the state who have showed up, spoken out for common sense gun reform and changes have been made both in laws that have been passed and newly elected officials deemed to be gun sense champions. We do this work because sadly there are so many people in our country impacted by gun violence…”

“Can I tell you a story of how scary this work is?” asked Jaychele Schenck, a high school student and member of the Board of Directors of Young Voices, Providence. “Around two months ago, I sat in the Judiciary Committee Hearing room waiting to testify. I sat in that room for six hours waiting to testify, yet a woman three times my age, from the other side, came and verbally harassed me for having my own beliefs and using my voice.

“The most important thing in this fight, is to not be silenced,” continued Schenck. “I am not going to tell you to fight for what you believe in because you are doing that by being here today. I am going to tell you to believe in what you are fighting for. That belief will push you through the hard experiences of activism. It will allow you to continue to have faith in the future and what it holds.”

“She was a loving daughter who would sing me a song but didn’t know the words,” said Diana Garlington, whose daughter Essence T Crystal was killed in a Providence shooting in 2014. “She would call me every single morning at 9:15am just a say, ‘Good morning, Mommy, what are you doing?’ knowing I was working, and ending by saying, ‘I love you.’ She was my baby who would read STOP and DO NOT ENTER signs at the age of two. She was my baby who would take her first step at 10 months old. She was my baby who I will no longer hear say ‘Mommy, I love you.'”

Scott Lapham is an artist and the creator of the One Gun Gone collaborative art project, Providence. At the One Gun Gone project, “we make art from one gun and we then sell that art to fund a gun buy backs.”

“We work with students who are from communities most affected by gun violence. I started this project because when I was a teenager in suburban Massachusetts, gun violence happened to my family and we lost a member of my family to gun violence. When I became an adult and started teaching, over the years four of my students have been lost to gun violence…”

Elder Shirley Hood, from Trinity Tabernacle Church in Rumford, gave a blessing for those in attendance.


UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:
Become a Patron!

Did you enjoy this article?


More Civil Rights Coverage