Episcopalians will join thousands of others in observing National Gun Violence Awareness Day today.
Bishops and other leaders have encouraged Episcopalians to wear orange and to attend public rallies and vigils June 2 to show their support for reducing gun violence in the United States. Supporters of the movement began wearing orange in 2013, after the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed in Chicago. Pendleton’s friends “chose orange because that’s what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others,” said a post on the Wear Orange website.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence, which comprises bishops of the Episcopal Church who lobby for reduction of gun violence and provide liturgical resources related to gun violence, has endorsed the movement.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington, wrote on her blog that she isn’t the kind of person to wear buttons or place stickers on her vehicle’s bumper.
“But on Tuesday, June 2nd, I’m going to find something orange to wear,” she said. “I know it’s not easy to talk about the issues that divide us as Americans, such as gun violence, from the perspective of our Christian faith. But we simply must persevere with courage and love.”
The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa and member of Bishops United, wrote an open letter in the Des Moines Register that called on Iowans to join the movement.
“As a member of the Episcopal Bishops United Against Gun Violence, I stand with my colleagues who urge our cities, states and nation to adopt and pass legislation that will reduce the number of Americans killed and wounded by gunfire,” Scarfe said. “This year I encourage all Iowans for the common good to join the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa in the growing majority of those who seek more sensible safety gun laws, such as requiring background checks for all gun purchases.”
The Wear Orange website lists events across the country.