Wear Orange Day march to end gun violence asks others to join fight

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 1:11 AM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The mission of “Wear Orange” to stop gun violence continued this weekend. Part of a bigger network around the country -- local survivors and victims were asking others to join the fight. We were there as they marched through Medal of Honor Park.

Among the groups out there were Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Leading the march is LaKeisha Chestnut -- her best friend was shot and killed in Houston in January 2016.

“There’s always power in numbers. Unity is something I always believed in -- it’s coming together one solid voice, one resounding voice and saying enough is enough. As my shirt says “Ni Uno Mas” -- Not One More,” explained Chestnut.

“Not One More” -- the group chanted as they walked -- three small words with a big message. The NAACP believes together they can stop the violence and senseless killings.

“If we came together as one huge group -- the gains would be enormous. It would be great! And I know we can make a difference if we can come together on one accord,” said Robert Clopton, NAACP Mobile County Chapter President.

“This is something very near and dear to my heart,” said Alli Flowers, Moms Demand Action.

Retired educator Alli Flowers says she troubled by the increase in gun violence -- not just here but across the country.

“The more people get used to it -- the worst it is. Because when you go ‘oh yeah another shooting’ -- the less likely you are to try and do something about it. Because then it becomes the norm. We do not want it to become the norm,” said Flowers.

“For somebody -- who did not have to worry about that when I was a student in elementary school I thought that school was the safest place you could go. And when I was teaching -- the school is the safest place I could go. But now that is not the case,” said Donna Orchard, retired educator and member of Moms Demand Action.

Others are taking a community based approach.

“It’s amazing what can be done when people work together. We know if white boys were in crisis killing each other that black boys are in crisis -- white men would set their differences aside -- come together and work to save their boys. We have to stand up as strong African American men -- to help our young boys,” said Michael Dotch, community member.

Since June 2022 -- Dotch and Rasheed Shuford have been working to reach youth in the area. They believe they’re making progress, but say there is still a lot of work to be done.

“Poverty is what’s calling the violence -- and most of our violence is poverty based -- robberies and drugs and things like that,” said Shuford.

As they marching today -- each step is towards the end goal to save lives.

“People are caring. And now that we are showing that people are caring -- now we need to start working,” said Chestnut.

While they support the Second Amendment -- they say some of that “real work” is legislation to prevent guns getting into the wrong hands.