Chicago Teens Wear Orange and Declare June 2 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Hadiya Pendleton
A mourner holds up a program for the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, who was fatally shot on January 29, 2013, in what police say was a case of mistaken identity in a gang turf war. John Gress/Reuters

Hadiya Pendleton would have turned 18 years old on June 2. Instead of celebrating, though, her friends on Tuesday are wearing orange to remember her and the dozens of Americans who die from gun violence each day.

Pendleton, 15, an honor student in Chicago and a member of her high school's drill team, was killed in what police said was a mistaken identity, a week after she performed at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in January 2013.

Her friends declared June 2 the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor her and the other victims and survivors of gun violence.

Members of Congress, local leaders, activists and celebrities across the country wore orange on Tuesday. The color represents the uniform of hunters that keeps them and others safe from harm. Comedian Sarah Silverman, singer Michael Stipe, the label Motown Records and the New York Mets are among those who have joined the campaign. MTV changed its typical black and white icon to orange in support of the movement.

The staff is also #wearingorange. See how you can help raise awareness about gun violence:

— New York Mets (@Mets) June 2, 2015

.@Motown is #WearingOrange today for @Everytown's 1st Annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Join us:

— Motown Records (@motown) June 2, 2015

Thanks to all members who stopped by to pick up ribbons. We have more! #WearOrange #NationalGunViolenceAwarenessDay

— Elizabeth Esty (@RepEsty) June 1, 2015

I'm #WearingOrange. Too many lives have been lost to senseless gun violence. @csgv

— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 2, 2015

#wearingorange today for the first ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day. #wearorange

— Andrew Bird (@andrewbird) June 2, 2015