Oranged the overpass

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Orange volunteers on NE 185th
Photo by Whitney Hardie of Hardie Photography

By Sue Whitcomb

Some end-of-the-workweek commuters got “oranged” from freeway overpasses north of Seattle on Friday by a large group of volunteers raising awareness of gun violence and advocating for more gun sense in our local communities, in Washington State and across the nation.

Friday was National Gun Violence Awareness Day. To mark the day and bring attention to the issue of gun violence, members of the local Shoreline group of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America came up with the idea of gathering in all their #wearorange gear at the NE 185th Street overpass on I-5 for the afternoon / evening commute.

Moms Demand Action volunteers wave at cars on I-5
Photo by Mardy Harding

The idea caught on with other local Moms Demand Action groups from Bothell / Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace / Lynnwood and the Eastside, which held their own gatherings at multiple overpasses on I-5, as well as several overpasses on I-405 and Highway 522.

“Awareness of the magnitude and impact of gun violence is critical if we are to come together in our communities and focus on ways in which we can save lives without compromising our Constitutional rights,” said Juliet Scarpa, lead for the all-volunteer Shoreline group of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. 
“We support Second Amendment rights, of course, but we are determined to find sensible ways to keep firearms out of the hands of those who may, even unintentionally, hurt themselves or others. We believe the majority of Americans want the same thing and will vote for candidates who will deliver gun sense solutions.”

Volunteers from Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Edmonds
lined the NE 185th overpass for the evening commute
Photo by Mardy Harding

Wear Orange is a campaign that was initiated by friends of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15, just a week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. Orange was the color Hadiya’s friends chose to honor her life and mourn that it was taken by gun violence. From that modest beginning, Wear Orange grew into a nationwide campaign.

This year, the mayors of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, and Edmonds joined mayors across the region, Washington State and the nation in supporting the Wear Orange Campaign by proclaiming Friday, June 1, as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day.”

Additionally, in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, in February, school boards representing districts adjacent to Shoreline, including Seattle and Edmonds, have issued resolutions acknowledging the need for additional measures to prevent gun violence in our local schools and communities, and calling on our state lawmakers to pass legislation addressing the issue from both a policy and funding position.

Shorewood students Kayla, Colin, Rowan, Aaron
from the Students Against Gun Violence club
Photo by Mardy Harding

Additional information from Mardy Harding, MLTNews

Students from Shorewood High School proudly wore their orange tie-dye shirts on the overpass at NE 185th Street to represent their school’s club, Students Against Gun Violence.

Rowan Hurt started the club after the March 14 school walkout against gun violence. “It was formed to take action and make sure that students can do something, even though all of us can’t vote,” she said.

Hurt said it means the world to students that the community would come together for an event like Orange the Overpass.

“Even though this movement kind of started out with younger people, with their enthusiasm and passion, we need everyone involved to make any sort of change,” she said. “And certainly voters, we need all the voters to be on board with this so we can actually make change that will last.”


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