Today begins Gun Violence Awareness Month.
I wear orange for Alyssa, Scott, Martin, Nick, Aaron, Jaime, Chris, Luke, Cara, Gina, Joaquin, Alaina, Meadow, Helena, Alex, Carmen & Peter. I wear orange for myself and all of the survivors of 2/14.
I wear orange for Columbine, Sandy Hook, Pulse, Virginia Tech, countless churches and synagogues.
I wear orange for victims or domestic violence, victims of neighborhood violence, families of suicide victims.
Some people will wear orange this month and go back to their normal lives on July 1. For those of us in the shittiest club on earth – the gun violence survivor club – we can’t turn off wearing orange. It’s a badge we wear, knowingly or unknowingly, every single day.
There are times I stop and think that I’m a survivor of gun violence. That I lived through a school shooting. It’s like it pops in my head at random times. It’s so strange that my brain has to remind me. I know it. I live it. I’ll never forget it.
I got sneakers to go along with my orange attire. I also ordered an orange tie-dye headband and bandana, and orange earrings.
Being an activist is hard. When you wear “regular clothing” you can blend in. I don’t want to blend in. I want to stand out. I want to speak out. I want to make change. I know that there are many in my community who want to blend in. I also know that there are people who are ready for me to step down from my soapbox and stop being so out there all the time. I don’t know how to do that. If you don’t want to hear what I have to say, help to bring about the necessary governmental changes and laws so I have nothing to speak out against anymore.
I will continue to wear orange. I will continue to keep MSD, the victims, families and survivors in the conversation.