Friday is the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend, a call to end gun violence. KDKA's Andy Sheehan has more.
KYM GABLE: Tackling gun violence, a national and local movement. Tonight is the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend, calling for an end to gun violence, a problem confronting communities across the country and here in our own backyards. In Allegheny County, not including the city of Pittsburgh, there have been 63 shootings since the start of the year. 35 of those shootings left at least one person injured, and 28 of those were deadly.
And it's a similar story in the city of Pittsburgh. Since January 1, Pittsburgh Police tell us they've investigated 27 gun homicides and 69 shootings where no one died, but someone's life was still changed by the gunfire. This weekend's being kicked off with a vigil in Braddock, where we join KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan. Andy.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Well, Kym, tonight is the beginning of Wear Orange Weekend, calling for an end to the gun violence that has raged here and across the nation. There is an event here in Braddock and one in the Hill District tomorrow afternoon.
Here in this community garden in the Hill District--
- There is spinach and three different kinds of carrots.
ANDY SHEEHAN: --people who tend to the flowers and the vegetables are wearing the color orange as a statement against gun violence, which has claimed the lives of six Allegheny County teenagers in the month of May alone.
GLENN GRAYSON: Even the color orange, which represents life and joy and excitement, six young people, life and joy and excitement has come to an end because of gun violence.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Orange was the favorite color of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, whose death from a stray bullet sparked a national movement. For Reverend Glenn Grayson, Wear Orange Weekend has a personal significance after losing his son Jeron to gun violence back in 2010.
GLENN GRAYSON: And we collectively want to say, collectively, enough is enough, and we believe it can stop. And we're going to do our part.
- Together is how we end gun violence, not in pockets, not in silos.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Wear Orange Weekend is being organized locally by a host of organizations, including Moms Demand Action and CeaseFirePA. It will be observed at tonight's Pirate game with orange lights at PNC Park and a series of events, including a community march here to this garden tomorrow afternoon, with the aim of bringing people together in non-partisan ways.
JOSH FLEITMAN: It doesn't have to be about "gun control." It's about common-sense solutions, about funding community violence prevention programs, people who can go out in the community and stop violence before it happens.
ANDY SHEEHAN: But primarily, the weekend is about recognizing the crisis, hearing the stories of the victims, and sharing a resolve to do whatever's possible to bring the violence to an end.
- A wonderful collaboration of friends and family and loved ones who touch and agree ensure that our young people are dying before their time.
ANDY SHEEHAN: Now, organizers say this is a kind of a first step. The first step is recognizing that we have a crisis in the violence among young people. And the next step is to come up with solutions to stop it. Reporting live in Braddock, Andy Sheehan, KDKA News.