Wear Orange Weekend kicks off on June 4 with a commemoration of National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor the lives of people in the United States affected by gun violence.

After Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in 2013 at the age of 15, her friends and family organized in Chicago to honor her life by wearing the color orange. Wear Orange originated on June 2, 2015—what would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday—and is now observed nationally on the first Friday in June and the following weekend each year in order to raise awareness for gun violence prevention.

This year, that means calling special attention to how the gun violence crisis has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the number of people killed by gun violence exceeded 40,000—the highest rate of gun deaths in two decades.

Orange is the color that Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed just one week after performing at President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade in 2013. After her death, they asked supporters to stand up, speak out, and wear Pendleton’s favorite color to raise awareness about gun violence.

Los Angeles is holding an event for survivors on Wednesday, June 2. They will spend an hour with organizers as they honor the victims and survivors of gun violence through Soul Boxes. To learn more visit: soulboxproject.org/home. Note that this event is specially designed for survivors of gun violence. If you are not a survivor but are interested in Wear Orange activities, visit https://wearorange.org/.