VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The group that organized National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Moms Demand Action, holds the event every year. They encourage people to wear orange.
Little did they know how poignant it would be this time around.
At Friday’s event, people were able to write cards of support to the families of the 12 victims of last week’s tragedy in Virginia Beach, where a lone gunman killed 11 city employees and a contractor at the city’s Municipal Center Building Two.
“It takes on a deeper meaning because everyone across the city knows someone who is grieving,” said Sibel Galindez, the event’s co-lead organizer. “We all know someone, and it becomes very personal.”
At about 3 p.m. Friday, a group called Students Demand Action, that included high school students from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, held a rally at the fountain at Town Center.
It included Delegate Cheryl Turpin of Virginia Beach, who also appeared at the event Friday night at Thalia United Methodist Church.
Galindez says she’s encouraged by Governor Northam calling lawmakers to a special session on gun violence.
“People talk about gun violence now. They didn’t used to talk about it. We needed that to happen in order to make change.”
Moms Demand Action was organized following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 young children and six adult staff members.
The campaign to wear orange began in 2013, following the death of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, in Chicago. She had just performed in a marching band the week before at President Obama’s second inaugural. Her family and friends wore orange to honor her.