‘Wear Orange’ rally organizers seek to maintain momentum for gun safety
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Peggy Robinson arrived at South Park for Saturday’s “Wear Orange” rally with the intent of making a difference.
“I’m here to give support for the cause and get involved,” she said, as local politicians spoke of the importance of voting and activism in enacting responsible firearms legislation.
About 50 people attended Saturday’s rally, which the Lawrence chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had organized to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
One factor that spurred Robinson to attend the rally was the police shooting that happened during a traffic stop Tuesday evening in downtown Lawrence. That incident had a ripple effect on the community, she said, and she felt compelled to stand up against gun violence because of it.
The attendees were mostly wearing orange, a color that has been associated with the gun violence prevention movement since friends of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton encouraged others to wear the girl’s favorite color after she died from gun violence in 2013.
Lene Carttar Brooke, co-leader of the Lawrence chapter of Moms Demand Action, said she was glad teens and adults alike were making their voices heard on the issue of gun violence. She and other Moms Demand Action activists have seen some changes in the Kansas Legislature, she said, in part due to activists lobbying for responsible gun laws.
Legislators in 2017 passed a measure that exempted public hospitals from the state’s open carry legislation, and they followed that up in the just-completed 2018 session with a bill that makes it illegal for people subject to protection from stalking and abuse orders to own or possess firearms.
“There’s been a cultural shift,” she said. “Legislators thank us for being there and are pleased when we testify at committee hearings.”