There isn't much like summer in Chicago. It's a time when we forget about the bitter cold, come out of hibernation and enjoy this beautiful city in all its glory.
It's also an important time for some awareness and remembering. Summer is a time that the violence in our city seems inevitably seems to escalate. June is Gun Violence Prevention Awareness Month, and the next 30 days are dedicated to spreading the message that gun deaths and injuries are preventable.
Most of us have been affected by gun violence or know someone who has. This June we are honoring the victims of this epidemic by wearing orange on June 2 and by redoubling our commitment to the solutions that will result in a safer Chicago for everyone.
Here are some ways everyone can participate in Gun Violence Prevention Awareness Month and make a real difference:
· Wear orange on June 2, and join us at the Wear Orange Party for Peace in Chicago's Harold Washington Park! The party starts at 3:30 p.m. Central and ends at 8:00 p.m. Don't forget to tweet and post your pics and tag @Bradybuzz and #WearingOrange.
· Join hundreds at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, right outside Chicago, in Riverdale, IL to protest Chuck's Gun Shop, a "bad apple" gun dealer responsible for flooding our streets and communities with crime guns. Just by stopping bad apples like Chuck's we can have a big impact on crime and violence in Chicago and cities around the country.
· Celebrate National ASK Day on June 21, the first day of summer by bringing attention to the risks of kids having unsafe access to guns in the home and by pledging to ask whether there is an unlocked gun in the homes where your children play. Families across the country will be participating in "America's Largest Playdate." Learn how you can be a part of it, by visiting AskingSavesKids.org and downloading the Asking Saves Kids Toolkit.
June 2 would have been Hadiya's 18th birthday, but because of a shooting on January 29, 2013, her young life ended. She loved this city and she had dreams: dreams of going to college and of becoming a journalist--dreams of traveling the world. Her death was not just our loss--it was Chicago's loss. It was this world's loss. Let her legacy be one of inspiring us to make the impact on the world that she dreamed of making when she was alive.
Participate in Gun Violence Awareness Month and remember to wear your orange on June 2. Together, we can end the epidemic of gun deaths in our nation and help to fulfill Hadiya's Promise.
Dan Gross is the president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, united with the Million Mom March. Nathaniel Pendleton is the father of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed on Chicago's South Side in January 2013. Gun violence prevention advocates nationwide are celebrating her June 2 birthday by wearing orange in her honor.