RICHMOND, Va. – People donned orange across the U.S. and in Central Virginia this weekend to honor the lives lost and touched by gun violence.
The Richmond chapter of Moms Demand Action hosted its first Wear Orange Richmond event at Hardywood Brewery Saturday afternoon.
A Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor was one of several people who addressed the crowd.
“In that moment, the innocence I once presented had evaporated,” the young woman said. “I witnessed her lifeless body and debris scattered throughout the room — bullet holes line the walls"
The survivor recounted how her life changed on Feb. 14, 2018, when a gunman killed 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman High School.
"This nightmare became our reality as I said my final farewell to friends,” she said. “I continued to send texts to my family who was like a lifeline in those moments."
Saturday’s event was part of a national push by Moms Demand Action to honor victims and to elevate gun prevention efforts.
"We here today are the movement and we say not one more," Kristin Dumont with Moms Demand Action Richmond said. "We wear orange to honor Hadiya Pendleton, Markiya Dickson and the 120 people shot and killed in the United states every day."
Gun violence continues to impact scores of families in Central Virginia. In fact, 73 people have been shot and 30 people have been killed in Richmond so far this year in Richmond, Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett.
Rick Edwards, Richmond’s interim police chief, said the tragedies take a toll on everyone.
"One thing I hate more than anything is that long lonely walk to the front door somewhere in our city,” Edwards said. “I knew when I knocked on that door life for a family was one way and life would be changed forever."
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However, Philip Van Cleave with the Virginia Citizens Defense League disagrees and argues crime and gun violence could be curbed if more people were carrying guns.
"No one wants to see violent crime out there,” Van Cleave said. “We have very different approaches. You should be able to protect yourself.”
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Moms Demand Action, along with members of other organizations at Saturday’s event, vowed to continue their campaign to stop gun violence.
"Let's honor those lives with action," Dumont said. “We don't have to live like this. We don't have to die like this."
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