Tucson Wear Orange event aims to spread awareness on gun violence

Wear Orange honors those who have lost their lives or been wounded by gun violence.
Celebrating 'Wear Orange Weekend' in Tucson
Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 11:12 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Volunteers with Moms Demand Action Arizona-Tucson hosted a Wear Orange event to honor those who have lost their lives or have been wounded by gun violence.

Over 100 volunteers and community members showed up to Southside Presbyterian Church wearing orange, the defining color of the end gun violence movement.

“Every day, whether there is a mass shooting or not, 120 people don’t come home. They have empty chairs at the table that night,” said Patricia Maisch, activist and survivor of a mass shooting at an event for then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords event.

The Jan. 8, 2011, incident in Tucson pushed Maisch to become an activist for gun safety.

“It took me seeing six people dead on the sidewalk and 13 people wounded before I said, ‘It is supposed to be you. You are supposed to be helping,’” Maisch said. “So, my heroes are all the people that come to this cause without having had to see people dead on the sidewalk.”

Across the nation, people are wearing orange this weekend to honor those who have lost their lives or have been wounded by gun violence. At this event, the goal was to provoke change before any more lives are lost.

“We wear orange to remember the 120 lives that are taken every day by gun violence and the additional 250 that are injured every day. So this is a crisis and we need to bring awareness to it,” said Sandra Gutierrez, co-lead for Moms Demand Action Tucson Chapter.

Gutierrez said as this crisis continues it is important to hold these events in the Tucson community.

“I talk to mothers, students, kids every day. We are all living with trauma. Parents are sacred to drop their kids off at school. We are scared to go to places of worship, we are scared to go to work and we have to work as a community to solve that. So being present in our community is how we solve that,” Gutierrez said.

Those in attendance heard stories from survivors and saw the impact of this violence laid out around the venue.

“There (are) 120 empty shoes that you can see on the sidewalk here, we have two school desks and backpacks,” Maisch said. “We are hoping that brings people to the realization that murders and suicides are real and we don’t have to keep having this.”

Going forward, this group wants to see change in the Arizona Legislature and more community involvement.

“What we want to see is more people taking action. We want to see you reaching out to your representatives, to your senators, talking to them about why this matters. This is safety for our community. It is not controversial,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said when talking about change, it is more than just contacting one’s representatives.

“It is important that you talk to your community, your family, your friends, your neighbors because they live in your legislative district because if you want to see change together it happens with people that you know,” Gutierrez said.

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