On Saturday, June 1st, hundreds of Delco United members gathered in Media to make their voices heard, and the message rang out loud and clear: We MUST have real action NOW to end the gun violence in our communities!
A packed crowd formed a sea of orange inside the 2nd Baptist Church of Media, as powerful speeches drove home the notion that we have the power to change our gun laws, if we continue to push forward, together. The opening program included choral performances and poetry, as well as remarks by our very own Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, Rep. Mike Zabel, and many more advocates and survivors. High on everyone’s minds was the devastating news from Virginia Beach… As the large group chanted, prayed, and sang together, they created a sacred space to honor the 12 victims of the recent shooting, as well as the thousands upon thousands of lives lost to gun violence each year, most of which don’t make the evening news.
…But the rally also provided a pathway for the assembly to channel their grief into action. As Delco United Board Member Beverly Wright so eloquently put it, “We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are sick and tired of burying our babies. We are sick and tired of mothers crying because they’re not going to have that opportunity to say, ‘I love you’ again. We can’t take this situation lightly. If we have legislators or politicians who are not backing sensible gun policies, we have to get them out of there!” Spurred into action, the “Orange Army” (as brilliantly titled by the Daily Times*) then marched through the town of Media, soldiering on in the smoldering heat with a message of hope for a world free from the plague of gun violence.
As fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters all chanted, “Enough is Enough!” loud enough for our leaders in Harrisburg to hear, the closing rally commenced. Lead in song by Matt Frankl, we “Imagined” a world where we could all live in peace; a world where our children’s lives are prioritized over the agenda of the gun lobby, and our streets, schools, and houses of worship can again be places where we feel safe, instead of targeted.
To all who attended, participated, or helped in any way to make our “Wear Orange” event run smoothly, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your commitment to gun violence prevention refills our most precious and vulnerable resource- HOPE!
*We were privileged to have topnotch coverage of the event from the Delco Daily Times– our “Orange Army” was featured on the front page! March on, soldiers!
On the evening of Wednesday, May 8th, a crowd of 80 supporters gathered at Widener University’s Lathem Hall to hear a panel discussion focused on the issue of gun violence prevention.
The panel consisted of:
Thaddeus Kirkland, Mayor of Chester City
Otis Blair, Chester Police Commissioner
Mike Felker, US Navy Hospital Corpsman and Combat Medic in Vietnam, Member of Veterans for Peace
Dr. Mary Francis, Nurse Practitioner at Cooper Hospital’s Trauma Unit, Faculty Member at the Widener School of Nursing
Lisa Dennis, Chester City Community Liaison
Michael Chitwood, Superintendent of the Upper Darby Police Department
Deb Ciamacca, Former Marine Corps Officer, Social Studies Teacher at Conestoga High School
Brenda Kucirka, Asst. Professor at the Widener School of Nursing
All of the panelists came from vastly different walks of life, and all felt the effects of gun violence on an almost daily basis. While not everyone agreed on every single piece of gun legislation that can help us to move forward, they came together in a consensus on issues like background checks, suicide prevention, and trauma-informed education.
The more discussions we have like this, the easier it will be to find a clear path forward in the fight to end gun violence, and to keep our communities safe.
On a windy Friday morning, an extremely cold- but equally determined– group of advocates held a press conference outside of the Media Courthouse, calling for the passage of Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) legislation. The leaders of Delco United joined with their partners Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence and CeasefirePA to organize the event, which was held a week after the horrific shooting that took place in a Wawa in Radnor on March 28th. Also in attendance at the conference were Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, State Sen. Tom Killion, State Rep. Todd Stephens, and State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara.
D.A. Copeland pointed out that, had the ERPO bill been enacted into law previously, it could have saved the life of Stephanie Miller. Miller was senselessly murdered by her ex-husband with an AR-15 that he purchased less than 2 weeks before the shooting. Jessica Frankl, Co-Chair of Delco United, reminded the crowd that, “The tragic loss of life that occurred inside a Wawa in Radnor Township unfortunately is not an isolated incident. With nearly 1,500 firearm deaths in Pennsylvania each year, the ripple effects of gun violence are consistently reverberating through our communities, leaving behind children, parents, classmates, colleagues, and friends wrestling with the trauma that continues long after the cameras and news vans leave. Stephanie’s killer was able to walk into a gunshop and buy an AR-15 LEGALLY, with nothing and no one stopping him. This abomination does not- I repeat- does not need to be our everyday reality.”
Many of our lawmakers are already taking the necessary steps to change this reality. Sen. Tom Killion and Rep. Stephens are the prime sponsors of Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation in the Pennsylvania State Senate and State House, respectively. Their life-saving bills, SB 90 and HB 1075, would allow law enforcement and family members to temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms, if a judge finds them to be in danger of harming themselves or others. For Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, HB 1075 hits close to home, as her father died by gun suicide when she was just 13 years old. Hundreds of families each year just like hers could benefit from ERPO legislation, which has been proven to significantly reduce the number of firearm suicides. 15 states have enacted similar measures so far; it’s time for Pennsylvania to step up, and join this growing list.
On Tuesday, October 16th, a hundred supporters filled the Oaks Ballroom in Glenolden, as they gathered in celebration of 5 years of Delco United. The evening started with good food and conversation among friends, while a slideshow featuring highlights of our work over the past 5 years played on. The slideshow can be viewed here.
To kick of the program, Ashli Rice graced us in song, with a rousing rendition of “Rise Up” that wowed crowd (Take a minute and watch this awe-inspiring performance– you’ll be glad you did!). Speeches followed by a few of Delco United’s endorsed candidates, including PA-5 Congressional candidate Mary Gay Scanlon, and State Senator Anthony Williams, who spoke of the urgent need for common sense gun legislation on a statewide and national level. Throughout the evening, the hard work of Delco United was honored by many of our allies, which included Shira Goodman of CeasefirePA, Movita and Yancy Harrell of the CHARLES Foundation, and Beverly Wright of Women of Strength United for Change. We were also privileged to be joined by Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, who moved the crowd with their stirring performances. All in all, the evening was a touching tribute to the efforts of Delco United, and a thank you to it’s supporters for all of their hard work. Attendees left the ballroom re-energized, inspired to keep pushing forward in the fight to end gun violence.
Ashli Rices wows the crowd with “Rise Up”
Current Co-chair Jessica Frankl with Co-Founder Robin Lasersohn and Board Member Elaine Vetre
Congressional Candidate Mary Gay Scanlon
Anna Crusis Women’s Choir inspired the crowd with 2 song selections
Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeasefirePA
Co-chairs Jessica and John with Sen. Anthony Williams
Yancy and Movita Harrell of the CHARLES Foundation
Co-chairs Jessica and John with allies from the CHARLES Foundation, Movita and Yancy Harrell
Beverly Wright, Delco United Board Member and President of Women of Strength United for Change
Rev. Peter Friedrichs of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County offered a prayer for the survivors of gun violence
Board Member Elaine Vetre offers a touching tribute to Co-Founders Robin Lasersohn and Terry Rumsey
Co-chairs Jessica and John with Shira Goodman of CeasefirePA
Alison Dobbins spoke on behalf of Leanne Krueger-Braneky
Co-Chair John Linder addresses the crowd
State Sen. Anthony Williams
Co-Chair Jessica Frankl addresses the crowd
Delco United Supporters enjoying an evening of celebration!
Join us as we Wear Orange, raise awareness about the gun violence in our communities, and call for legislative action. Together, we collectively say, “Enough is enough!”
Why do we wear orange?
In 2013, 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton was shot killed in a case of mistaken identity – a week after she performed at one of the events surrounding President Obama’s second inauguration. Her friends picked the color orange to honor her, and to call for gun reform. Orange is the color hunters wear in the woods in order to be seen, and to protect themselves and others from harm. We, too, demand to be seen- and to be protected from the threat of gun violence.
The event will begin with a rally inside the 2nd Baptist Church of Media, with speakers, music, and more. From there, we will walk up State Street, and end with a rousing closing rally at the Media Courthouse. All are welcome.