Bishop Ely Encourages VT Congregations to Participate in Wear Orange Weekend to End Gun Violence, June 7-9

[Diocese of Vermont] The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely has announced his intention to participate in Wear Orange Weekend on June 7-9, 2019, and is inviting Episcopalians throughout the Diocese of Vermont to join him. June 7 marks the fifth anniversary of Gun Violence Awareness Day and is the lead-in to Wear Orange Weekend, during which people across the national will wear orange and participate in community events to demonstrate unity in a common goal of ending gun violence.

The national event was inspired by the tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student who was shot and killed on a Chicago playground in 2013 one week after marching in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade.

“Soon after the tragedy, Hadiya’s childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange,” Wear Orange explains in a recent partnership letter promoting Wear Orange Weekend. “They chose the color because hunters wear orange in the woods to protect themselves and others.”

In the partnership letter, Wear Orange goes on to say:

National Gun Violence Awareness Day asks everyone who believes we can do more to save American lives from gun violence to do one simple thing: Wear Orange. Originating in hunting culture, Wear Orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership and reflects the value of human life. The 5th National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 7, 2019, will be the largest-ever show of support for this issue. In greater numbers than ever before, Americans will come together to show that we are united in our goal of ending gun violence.

The effect of gun violence on our communities is pervasive, long lasting, and impacts everyone uniquely. Wear Orange is an opportunity to demonstrate our collective power as members of the gun violence prevention movement, bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations working in different ways to curb gun violence.

Bishop Ely commented, “Wear Orange Weekend resonates with me both as a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence and as a supporter of the End Family Fire movement. Whenever I put on my orange stole, I am reminded of Hadiya as well as countless others right here in Vermont who have been injured and killed in senseless, preventable acts of gun violence, including suicides and accidents in the home–especially accidents involving children. I believe that Wear Orange Weekend makes a difference because it highlights the wide-reaching effects of gun violence in both rural and urban communities and gives us a glimpse of the power we have together to make a change.”

According to statistics provided by Brady United, a key data source for Bishops United Against Gun Violence, 310 people are shot every day, 21 of whom are children and teens. End Family Fire, a movement that promotes responsible gun ownership in the home, estimates that 4.6 million children have access to unlocked and loaded guns, significantly increasing the risk of an accidental shooting.

Bishop Ely reminds clergy and congregation leaders that the Bishops United Against Gun Violence website contains liturgical resources that congregations wishing to participate in Wear Orange Weekend may find useful. He has named The Episcopal Church in Vermont as a formal partner of Wear Orange and is encouraging congregations throughout the Diocese to register using the Wear Orange Partner Sign-On form, as well. (For questions related to sign-up, please email Maura LaMendola, Deputy Director of Partnerships, Everytown for Gun Safety at mlamendola@everytown.org.)

To follow are suggestions, inspired by Wear Orange, for congregations wishing to participate in Wear Orange Weekend:

1. Social Media

  • Turn your church logo, social media avatars, and/or website orange.
  • Post original content or amplify content on your congregation’s Facebook or Twitter page on or before June 7.

2. Communications

  • Send an email to your members on and before June 7 to encourage participation in Wear Orange.
  • Share a press release with your town’s local media announcing your participation in Wear Orange Weekend.

3. Field Engagement

  • Wear and Share – Take photos in orange or create a unique orange product to display in solidarity.
  • Light Your Church – On the evening of June 7, turn your church building orange.
  • Field Events – Drive participation to a local Wear Orange field event, or host an Wear Orange service. Should you choose to plan a service or event, please notify Maura LaMendola, Deputy Director of Partnerships, Everytown for Gun Safety, so that Wear Orange can connect you with other Wear Orange leaders who may be in your area.

Read the complete partnership letter to learn more about Wear Orange Weekend.

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