The Wear Orange campaign began in 2015, two years after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in a Chicago park after taking her final exams. Pendleton, a sophomore and drum majorette, had been sheltering from the rain with a group of students when a gunman got out of a car and opened fire. The alleged assailant later claimed that he had mistaken Pendleton’s group of friends for members of a rival gang.
Orange was the color that Pendleton’s parents and friends chose to wear in her honor following her death. Because of their activism, the color has transformed into a national symbol of solidarity in the movement to stop gun violence.
Each year on June 2 — Pendleton’s birthday and National Gun Violence Awareness Day — supporters wear orange to recognize this need for change. The national walkouts have also taken up the color as a unifying symbol of protest.
After Hadiya’s death, the Wear Orange movement was born in an effort to create change regarding the growing epidemic of gun violence in the United States. While Friday marks the actual day of awareness, events are taking place nationwide all weekend long.
Many public figures took to social media to share their reasons for wearing orange and to encourage others to do the same.