TAMPA, Fla. - The first Friday in June is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the city of Tampa is shining a light on the issue by lighting up orange. The shade has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement.
"It represents life, and also orange is the color that hunters wear to be noticed by other hunters in the woods so they don’t get shot," explained Nancy Fry, a volunteer with the group Moms Demand Action.
Across the country, there has been a rise in community-based violence and mass shootings.
"It’s monumental," Fry said. "It’s 100 people a day throughout the United States are killed, that does not talk about how many are injured, which is usually over 230 a day that are injured by guns."
According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, mass shootings in Florida more than doubled in 2020.
In Tampa, there was a surge in violent crime. Police say 36 of the city’s 41 homicides involved a firearm.
57-year-old Sylvia Hart was one of those victims. The grandmother was shot in front of her family outside of her house.
"She was a loving and caring mother, she loved her grandkids. To know her was to love her. She had a heart that just like, it filled the room," said Hart’s niece, Lola Williams, back in October.
So far this year, St. Petersburg has been particularly violent. The city is on pace in the first half of 2021 to match the total killings for all of last year.
"This is a citywide issue. I am tired of burying people's kids. I am tired of them having to bury their kids," St. Petersburg City Council Member Lisa Wheeler Bowman said in April.
However, it is not just murderers pulling the trigger. Thousands of lives are cut short by guns every year.
"Gun violence is suicide. Gun violence is domestic abuse. Gun violence is hate crimes. It’s mass shootings. It's community-based violence. It's unintentional shootings," said Fry. "It doesn’t just stop with who that bullet touches, it touches everyone around them."
Wear Orange: https://wearorange.org/
Moms Demand Action: https://momsdemandaction.org/