Dear Friends in Christ,
The #WearOrange movement started with a group of teenagers in Chicago who refused to take the daily toll of gun violence on their community and their lives lying down.
On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed. Orange is the color a group of Hadiya’s friends chose to wear to remember her life. They chose orange because that’s what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.
What started in a south side high school to celebrate Hadiya has turned into a nationwide movement to honor all lives cut short by gun violence. Wear Orange is also a celebration of life – and a call to action to help save lives from gunfire. – www.wearorange.org
June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. At our Healing Eucharist that evening we will offer prayers for all those affected by gun violence, and for an end to that deadly plague on our society. On Sunday, June 5th, I will put on my orange stole again to celebrate #WearOrange Sunday. I say celebrate – because everything that we do in the name of Christ is a celebration of God’s mercy and grace towards us. We will celebrate the lives that we have been given, and raise our voices to decry violence and offer instead words of peace.
We come with some differing ideas for how to achieve our goal of safety, life, and health for all in our communities – but our goal is the same. Let our prayers, then, be our peaceful protest against the dying of the light.
Bishop Hollingsworth wrote his clergy about the movement to wear orange stoles on June 5th:
I understand that a number of you are planning to wear orange stoles on Sunday, June 5, in recognition of Gun Violence Awareness Sunday and Gun Violence Awareness Day (June 2). As a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence and a gun owner, I support and encourage you in doing so. While I will likely not be officiating that Sunday because of my sabbatical, I will be wearing orange in solidarity with you.
Awareness that gun violence is epidemic in our nation and society is essential if we are to be creative and self-sacrificing in healing the culture of fear and aggression in which we live. The notion that gun safety regulations infringe upon individual rights is unreasonable. The lack of such regulations compromises everyone's right to live in safety.
This non-partisan witness to the Prince of Peace, who gave his own life that all might be saved, is one way of reminding ourselves and others of the self-sacrifice required of us for all of God’s beloved to be safe. It is a sign of our belief in the God who cares for every one of us as a shepherd does his sheep, and of our commitment to be the voice, hands, and heart of the Shepherd in our own time.
You can read more about #WearOrange at www.wearorange.org, and more about the orange stoles and Gun Violence Awareness Sunday at www.bishopsunitedagainstgunviolence.org , www.thefunstons.com , and www.rosalindhughes.com
The Peace of Christ be with you all,