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!
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.
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.