Chicago recently experienced its deadliest May in 21 years. Within 31 days, 66 people were killed. The numbers shed light on an ongoing problem that has wrecked the city, but the numbers fail to tell the entire story.
On June 2, hundreds gathered at Harold Washington Park speak out against gun violence at National Gun Awareness Day. Mothers who lost their children to gun violence revealed the detrimental affect that gun violence has on families and the entire community.
“My son Spencer Cortez Stewart was murdered on the West Side of Chicago in August of 2015 while attending a party for someone going to college,” Danielle Stewart said. “Five people were shot and my son was the only one who died. I’m here to honor my son and bring awareness to gun violence that is occurring in Chicago and around the nation.”
Attendees at the event all wore orange in reference to Project Orange Tree. The color orange is worn by hunters to show that they are not the target. However, too many innocent lives have become targets of gun violence in Chicago.
One victim that caused a national outcry was Hadiya Pendleton who was shot in Chicago weeks after performing for President Obama at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.
“We lost Hadiya senselessly, we have to get the guns out of our communities,” says Linda Wordly who was friend of Hadiya’s family. During the event, Hadiya’s life was honored as well as the other victims who passed due to gun violence.
Lucia McBath, the mother of murdered teen Jordan Davis, served as the first speaker at the event.
“I’m here with the Wear Orange Campaign, it’s important for me to come back to where I was raised and to help champion gun violence prevention. Gun violence victims often are nameless and people outside of their communities don’t know who they are. I’m here to rally the troops,” McBath said.