NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, with Gun Violence Awareness Day falling on June 3 this year.
Often, community members wear orange in honor of gun violence awareness events. That tradition was made popular by the national non-profit Wear Orange.
It began in June 2015 after a 16-year-old was fatally shot on a playground in Chicago. That was weeks after she marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade.
Locally, community members gathered in orange on Friday to honor those affected by gun violence. That includes first responders, as well as medical staff at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.
In the first 154 days of 2022, SNGH has treated more than 200 gunshot victims. During that same time, CHKD admitted eight children with gunshot injuries.
That violence hit home for Nedra Adamson. Her 14-year-old son was killed.
At a vigil on Friday outside of SNGH, she said “every day is a challenge,” while holding back tears.
“It never gets easy,” she added. “However, my faith in God keeps me pushing.”
10 on Your Side reported back in October 2021 what happened to her son. No one was ever arrested.
“Every day is just hard. It’s hard,” she continued. “The fact that my son was robbed of his life. That is something I will have to live with forever.”
Three men shared their stories on Friday afternoon. They were all paralyzed after getting shot.
One of them said he was shot in the neck, another in the back and the third in the head.
“I told him to meet me outside and let’s fight. So we fought,” Raymond Latham told 10 On Your Side. “He then left and came back with a gun and shot me in the head.”
Travis Webb said he was shot “three times in the back” days after a fight. While Tyquane Perry “was shot in the neck” and “hospitalized for 28 days.”
Webb says he is making the best of it. He has his own house, car and job.
Gun violence also left its mark on Granby Street back in March. Three people were fatally shot that night. Two others were injured.
Norfolk’s former police chief said a spilled drink launched the argument that ended in gunfire.
Before that, Regina Wiggins says her son, Leonco Lamb, was gunned down near his home. She said he was shot several times, but it was never reported.
“I think the publicity that she (Sierra Jenkins) had because she worked for the newspaper,” Wiggins told 10 On Your Side. “I think that got the publicity over my son, but all their lives are important.”
CHKD’s Kameron Blue, the program coordinator for Safer Futures organized the event on Friday.
“We followed the patients through the hospitalization,” he said. “Once they are discharged, we met with families and find out what they need to help them to readjust and get back home.”
On Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper tweeted in honor of Gun Violence Awareness Day and said “We cannot forget these tragedies when they fade from the news.” He added that it is “past time for common sense reforms.”
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services added online that the state has the “17th highest rate of gun deaths in the nation with an average of more than 1,300 gun deaths each year.”
10 On Your Side will profile stories throughout the month of June in honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Month.