If Hadiya Pendleton were still alive, she’d be turning 18 tomorrow. But in 2013, shortly after performing at Barack Obama’s inauguration, she was shot and killed while hanging out in a Chicago park.
So, rather than singing “Happy Birthday” and giving out presents on June 2nd, Hadiya's friends, along with celebrities such as Sarah Silverman, Perez Hilton, and Julianne Moore, plus 60 U.S. mayors, and a coalition of activists and organizations (including MTV), are asking people to wear orange (#WearingOrange) as part of the very first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“This isn’t a statement about the Second Amendment or gun ownership,” Hadiya's parents explained to the Chicago Sun Times. “It’s about recognizing that we have a gun-violence problem in our community and in our country. Put simply, if you believe there is more we can do to save American lives from gun violence, wear orange.”
Want some facts to back up your fashion statement? Here's what you need to know.
1. In the U.S., you’re twenty times more likely to lose your life from a gun than you are in any other first world nation.
2. One third of Americans know someone who has been a victim of gun violence.
3. About one fifth of American teens have seen someone get shot.
4. It costs $2.3 billion to cover the medical bills for victims of gun violence, and half of that money comes from tax payers.
5. Sandy Hook is not our most recent school shooting; it's just a very famous one. We average approximately one school shooting per week in America, though they don’t all make it to national news.
6. In almost 60% of mass shootings, a significant other or member of the shooter's family is also killed.
7. Federal law doesn’t stop people guilty of domestic violence and stalking from owning guns. State laws vary on how they handle this issue, but the majority of American women killed by guns are killed by a significant other.
8. After car accidents, gun violence is the second leading cause of death for people under the age of 20.
9. If there’s a home where domestic violence is going on, the availability of a gun makes it 500 percent more likely the victim will be killed.
10. 92% of U.S. citizens believe people should be required to undergo background checks before buying guns. 82% of people who own guns agree that background checks are the way to go, and that belief is echoed by 74% of people in the NRA.
11. About two kids under the age of 14 are killed each week in accidental shootings. In two thirds of these cases, these shootings could have been prevented by parents keeping their guns secured and out of reach.
12. Licensed gun dealers do carry out background checks, but it is possible to buy guns through an unlicensed dealer. In that case, there doesn’t have to be a background check.
13. Background checks have been shown to work. For example, the number of women killed by handguns in domestic violence cases is cut almost in half where background checks are universal.
15. Each day, approximately 32 people are killed by another person through gun violence, 51 commit suicide with a gun, and 45 people are shot accidentally, which sometimes results in death.