Gun Violence Awareness Day starts local conversation about safety, prevention

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – National Gun Violence Awareness Day is June 2, but what started as a single day has grown into a weekend of events across the country.

Marked by the color orange, organizers say this movement honors those impacted by gun violence.

According to Indianapolis Metro Police, through May 2018, Indianapolis has recorded 61 criminal homicides. Last year through May, that number was 49.

One mother affected locally by gun violence is DeAndra Yates, whose son DeAndre was shot in 2014, when he was just 13-years-old.

“I need a miracle for Dre to be how he used to be,” Yates said. “A lot of the moms I work with, their kids are gone, they’re not coming back. What can we do so there’s not another mother sitting here?”

Badly injured in the shooting, DeAndre Yates is unable to walk or talk. His mother has become the face of a group she never planned to be part of.

“I have another child who has to see his brother live a totally different life, and he used to be his protector,” Yates said. “Now the roles have been switched. So it changes your life in ways that, until you really walk in the shoes, people will never understand.”

On Gun Violence Awareness Day, these families come together and share their stories.

With Moms Demand Action, they start the conversation with police and the community about ways to reduce and prevent gun violence.

“When we’re thinking about guns and gun violence, these are the victims of that, and this is what their lives look like now,” said Beth Sprunger, an event organizer with Moms Demand Action.

This movement started in 2013 after a 15-year-old girl in Chicago, Hadiya Pendleton, lost her life to gun violence. Her friends set the event date of June 2, Hadiya’s birthday.

This year, hundreds of events are planned nationwide; 14 are in Indiana.

Data from Everytown for Gun Safety shows, on average daily, 96 Americans are killed with guns. For every person killed, their data shows 2 others are injured.

“We talk about it after a mass shooting, but do we talk about it after DeAndre, the little DeAndres are shot on the city streets? No, we don’t,” Yates said.

In Indianapolis, the event is a kid-friendly block party to celebrate gun violence survivors and remember those lost.

Indianapolis Wear Orange Celebration:

  • Saturday, June 2
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Christ Missionary Baptist Church
  • 1001 Eugene St, Indianapolis

Click here for more on the events happening in Indiana and around the country.

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