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Locals 'Wear Orange' and rally for gun reform

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Christine Erickson embraces her daughter Sadie, 11, while listening to a speaker at Saturday's "Wear Orange" event at Pitt Street Brewing Company. Gaelle Deshayes also attended the event.

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Supporting survivors of gun violence was the focus of a weekend event in downtown Greenville.

About 50 adults and children gathered at Pitt Street Brewing Company on Saturday as part of “Wear Orange,” a nationwide event honoring the lives of Americans who have been impacted by gun violence, said Claire Kempner, leader of Greenville’s Moms Demand Action, a local branch of a nationwide group working to introduce common sense gun reforms.

“Moms Demand Action supports the Second Amendment. We are not anti gun, we are anti gun violence,” Kempner said.

Data compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 96 Americans die everyday due to gun violence with seven of those daily deaths being children and teenagers. The same data shows women, children and people of color are disproportionately affected by gun violence.

About 450 “Wear Orange” events were held nationwide.

Individuals who have survived being shot and individuals who have lost loved ones to gun violence attended the Greenville event along with their supporters.

“Gun violence is not a fun topic,” Kempner said. “This was a rare event where we can get together and (honor) people who have survived and been impacted by gun violence.”

Along with discussing actions that volunteers can take to protect children and the community from gun violence, there were fun activities such as bubble making, corn hole, ping pong and a photo booth with orange props. Orange cupcakes and orange Popsicles were served.

The Greenville Moms Demand Action group formed in April after Kempner attended some of the organization’s meetings in Raleigh.

“If I was interested in this organization, then I thought surely there were others in Greenville and the surrounding around that would be interested,” Kempner said.

Locally, members have attended school board meetings and a joint meeting of the school board and Pitt County Board of Commissioners.

“If school safety is on the agenda we’ll make every effort to be there and attend so we can show them school safety is important to us,” said Kempner, a mother of two.

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