This year marks the 25th anniversary of the [May 21, 1998] Thurston High School shooting. Over the last 25 years gun violence has shattered our sense of collective safety. We have learned we are not safe in churches, schools, grocery stores, banks, doctor’s offices or concerts. We have learned no place is sacred, and no person is exempt.
In my own life I have lost my brother, cousin and childhood neighbor to self-inflicted gunshot wounds. I was in nursing school at Umpqua Community College in 2015 when eight students and the instructor were murdered by a mass shooter. I was not on campus that day. I could see the classroom from my home across the street and had taken a class in that room. In October 2017 my cousin was shot in the foot in the mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas. This is not normal. When did it become controversial to say we should not have to live in fear of random violence?
June 2 to 4 is Wear Orange Weekend. The Wear Orange Movement began in 2015 following the death of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15 year old, who was shot by a stranger on a playground in Chicago. Orange is the color hunters wear to keep themselves and others safe. We wear orange to call for an end to all gun violence, including suicide, domestic violence and accidental shootings. Please come to Island Park in Springfield from 11 am to 3 pm Saturday, June 3, to remember the victims of gun violence and honor the survivors.