Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops that advocates for background checks on all gun purchases and other violence prevention measures, is urging all Episcopalians to consider wearing orange on June 2 as a sign of their commitment to reducing gun violence in their communities.
“Poll after poll demonstrates that some 85 percent of Americans, including large majorities of gun owners and members of the National Rifle Association, favor background checks on all gun purchases, yet Congress won’t act,” said the Rev. Mark Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark, who convenes Bishops United in collaboration with Bishop Ian T. Douglas of Connecticut and Eugene T. Sutton of Maryland. “We need to take every opportunity to illustrate just how widespread the support for this simple legislation really is.”
The Wear Orange movement began in 2013 after Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student, was shot to death on the south side of Chicago just a week after marching in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. Her friends asked people to honor Pendleton by wearing orange—the color hunters choose for safety—on her birthday, June 2. Their cause was taken up by gun violence prevention groups around the country who last year promoted the first National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
This year more than 85 partner organizations, including Bishops United, are urging their members and friends to wear orange to commemorate Pendleton’s life and to help pass common sense gun legislation.
Bishops United is asking Episcopalians to:
2 Have their picture taken in orange garb on June 2 and posted on social media using the hashtags #WearOrange and #Episcopal
Bishops United also urges Episcopalians to work for handgun purchaser licensing, as supported by Resolution B008 of the 2015 General Convention, the passage of an effective statute making gun trafficking a federal crime, and the development of smart gun technology.
“In the gospel assigned for the Sunday after June 2, we read about Jesus restoring life to a widowed mother’s only son,” Beckwith said. “We don’t have the power to raise people from the dead, but sometimes we do have the power to keep them alive. Our hope on June 2 is that people across the country will join us in harnessing that power.”