Students Demand Action honors National Gun Violence Survivor Awareness Week


Students Demand Action planning the awareness week at their meeting on Jan. 17.

Lindsey Kozel, Editor

There have been 39 mass shootings across the United States in just the 26 days of 2023.

With the rise of gun violence, the Lake Forest branch of Students Demand Action (SDA) is honoring National Gun Violence Survivor Awareness week by hosting different events over the week of Feb. 1-7. They hope to bring more awareness to the community on both survivors of gun violence and safety. 

The campaign starts with an orange-out day on the 1st, where students are encouraged to wear orange clothing. 

Orange is the color for the gun violence movement, Wear Orange, that started in 2015 when a 15-year-old girl named Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at a playground in Chicago. Her friends and family decided to wear orange, the color many hunters wear to protect themselves in the woods, to honor her life. The campaign has since grown to partner with professional sports teams, luxury brands, and now Students Demand Action.

On the 2nd, the Students Demand Action group is hosting their meeting of the month to focus on passing a Secure Storage resolution in Lake Forest. The proposal aims to promote safe firearm storage in homes to ensure the safety of community members, especially young children and teens. 

The 3rd is for students and community members to listen to stories or speeches from gun violence survivors and watch memorial videos. Learning about survivors’ past experiences is a large part of the awareness week, and something SDA hopes people will learn from.

On the 6th, SDA is sharing statistics about gun violence to bring more awareness to how common violence is in the United States. In 2021, 3,597 kids died from gunfire which is now one of the leading causes of death for children.

The last day of the awareness week is orange ribbon day on Feb. 7. SDA members will hand out orange ribbons to students to show their support and gain traction for the organization. Additionally, students can sign petitions to pass the Secure Storage Resolution in District 115. 

The purpose of the campaign is for students and community members to get a better understanding of the issue of gun violence.

“It’s easier to empathize and support a cause when you can realize the full scope of it,” junior and Students Demand Action co-lead Sophia Zar said. “Facing the real-life consequences of gun violence might be a really impactful way to get people to care about gun legislation reform and the Everytown mission as a whole.”

SDA’s graphic that outlines the week created by junior Meghan Duncan.