HARRISBURG, June 2, 2015 – At a news conference held in the Capitol Rotunda, State Senator Art Haywood joined dozens of statewide activists, family members of victims and community leaders to recognize Gun Violence Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. The senator also announced a resolution that would make June 2015 Gun Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
“We’ve all watched grieving families and neighbors confront gun violence in Newtown, Columbine, at Virginia Tech and in many other towns and cities across the country,” Haywood said, “But every day we lose more Americans to gun violence than we did in the tragedies in Columbine, Newtown and Virginia Tech combined. For so many people, gun violence is not a passing headline. It’s a lifetime.”
The senator and activists wore orange to honor the life of Hadiya Pendleton, a young woman who was shot to death in Chicago. Hadiya’s classmates came together to organize the first nationwide Gun Violence Awareness Day this year on what would have been her 18th birthday. “Wearing Orange reflects awareness that we have a gun violence problem,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of Ceasefire PA. “Honoring the victims and survivors, and pledging to do more to prevent senseless loss of life, should unite us in the effort to fight gun violence and make Pennsylvania and the nation safer.
“Today, Pennsylvanians across the state are joining a nationwide effort to honor the lives of the 88 Americans who are shot and killed every day,” said Deb Marteslo of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, joined by dozens of activists from the organization. “We are proud to see Senator Haywood sharing in our commitment to work to reduce the gun violence that affects all of our communities, and we urge all of our elected leaders to join us.”
Americans are twenty times more likely to die by gun violence than citizens of any other developed countries. Senator Haywood explained that Gun Violence Awareness Day could start a conversation in Pennsylvania, and that designating June 2015 as Gun Violence Awareness Month could take the conversation further.
“Gun violence tragedies are an unacceptable threat to our public health, and we must do our part to foster the discussion between citizens and community leaders on how we can make our neighborhoods safer,” Haywood said. “I believe that increased awareness will allow us all to understand this epidemic and start a constructive, bipartisan conversation on how to address it.”
Contact: Melissa Ostroff