At least ten Iowa communities are hosting “Wear Orange” events this weekend as part of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Megan Gentrup, an organizer of the Wear Orange campaign in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says deadly gun attacks in schools and elsewhere have become too common across the country.
“We found a lot of community members didn’t know what to do but knew we wanted to do something,” Gentrup says. “We decided to hold an event where the only purpose is to gather, get to know your neighbors, learn about more organizations in the community that are making us safer and also honoring those we have lost to gun violence.” More than 350 Wear Orange events will take place across the country Saturday, from concerts to picnics to Orange Walks. Gentrup says survivors of gun violence will attend some of the Iowa events, like the one at Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs.
“We’ll have families who have lost loved ones to gun violence to talk about that,” Gentrup says. “We do want to acknowledge that this is happening and we need to talk about it. We’ll also have activities for kids, family-friendly events. We’ll have board games, cornhole, we’ll have Giant Jenga.”
While the events are called “Wear Orange, she says actually wearing orange clothing isn’t a requirement. “Color options of any kind are welcome,” Gentrup says, laughing. “Wear Orange is just the color we use because it signifies safety with hunters and we want to signify safety at our event and with everyone in our communities.” Events are planned in several other Iowa communities, including: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque, Grimes, Iowa City, the Quad Cities, Keosauqua and Waterloo.