From June 4-6, Moms Demand Action will be putting on a series of virtual events in support of Wear Orange Weekend, a weekend meant to bring awareness to gun violence.
Moms Demand Action is a national organization that was founded after 26 people died at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. The Lansing chapter reaches over the entire tri-county area.
Greater Lansing Area chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Katie See said that Wear Orange Weekend began after a group of Chicago teenagers wore orange in support of their friend Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed a week after attending President Barack Obama's second inauguration.
"They called on all their friends to wear orange because it's the color is symbolizes the value of life that hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others and so it has become what we wear to honor those taken by gun violence and to demand an end to it," See said.
Due to the COVID-19 health regulations, the weekend will be put on virtually through a Facebook live stream. On Saturday, June 6, there will be a video shown with interviews from six individuals who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
In addition, Sistrum, Lansing's women chorus, will be singing the Women's Warrior Song and Laura April, a gun violence survivor, will be reading four poems.
The East Lansing City Council has been helping to plan this weekend as well, hoping to find ways to engage the community in coming together to stop gun violence not only in the greater Lansing area but nationally.
"I recently lost a friend to gun violence and I was feeling a little lost and helpless in the aftermath," East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg said in an email. "I decided that the best way for me to channel my feelings was to lend my support to the advocacy work being done by Moms Demand Action."
Gregg said she recorded a video to be included during the event.
Moms Demand Action will also be teaming up with the Mikey 23 Foundation to raise money for gun violence awareness. Mikey 23 is a nonprofit which was founded following the death of 23-year-old Michael McKissic II. A virtual run, walk, bike or any other form of exercise will be put on a few weeks following the weekend of wear orange.
The Mikey 23 Foundation specializes in a building trade and apprenticeship program, allowing people 18 and over to apply. People under 18 can also be trained on weekends, learning the building trade, Michael McKissic Sr. said.
The Mikey 23 foundation was just selected by Everytown for Gun Sense as one of the ten foundations to be highlighted for this year's Wear Orange Weekend.
"We buy all the tools that are teaching these kids that working with a hammer or working with measuring tape is better than picking up a gun," Michael McKissic Sr. said.
Additionally, the Mikey 23 Foundation is offering a scholarship program this year. Applicants will be asked to write a 500 word essay explaining how they plan to stop the violence in their community. More Information can be found on the website.
"In the last week, in East Lansing, there were five people brought to the hospital by gun violence, one of whom was an MSU student," See said. "There were several people killed by gun homicide in Lansing in the last week and this has just been ravaging our community for just too long and it particularly has a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities."
See also said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on people of color.
Those interested in attending the event can find the streams at this link and donate to the cause here.
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