Friday, June 4 Kicks Off “Wear Orange Weekend,” a National Event Supported By the Organization Everytown for Gun Safety That Honors Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence
According to Everytown, 100 Lives Are Lost to Gun Violence Every Day in the United States
Governor Cuomo Signs Proclamation Designating June 2021 as Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state landmarks and structures to be illuminated orange this evening to remember victims and survivors of gun violence in New York State and across the nation as today marks the sixth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the start of Wear Orange Weekend, which runs through Sunday, June 6. The Governor also issued a proclamation declaring June 2021 as Gun Violence Awareness Month to shine a light on this issue.
“Every single day, more than 100 Americans are killed with a gun, and hundreds more are shot and injured – a senseless plague of violence and heartbreak that had left an unfillable hole in the souls of too many moms and dads, friends, teachers, and communities across the country,” Governor Cuomo said. “Tonight, on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, New York State is holding everyone who has been lost to or devastated by this crisis in our hearts. And we will continue to lead the legal and legislative fight for a country free from gun violence, showing that our state’s common-sense reforms can both respect the Constitution and ensure safety and security for all.”
The following iconic landmarks and structures will be illuminated orange:
- One World Trade Center
- Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
- Kosciuszko Bridge
- H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
- State Education Building
- Alfred E. Smith Building
- State Fairgrounds – Main Gate and Expo Center
- Niagara Falls
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge
- Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
- MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
Orange has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement since 2013, when friends of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton wore the color in her honor. The Chicago teen was shot and killed that year, just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade. The first National Gun Violence Awareness Day occurred on June 2, 2015, which would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday.
According to Everytown For Gun Safety, the gun homicide rate in the United States is 25 times higher than that of other high-income countries, with more than 14,000 people dying annually. Suicides involving firearms claim the lives of more than 23,000 people in the country annually, as well.
Communities across the country, including those in New York State, have seen an increase in gun violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as statewide total reported crime remained near historically low levels in 2020. Experts have cited a confluence of factors contributing to this increase: unemployment, closure of schools and other essential programs, and isolation from family, friends and support systems, as well as social unrest in communities.
During Governor Cuomo’s tenure, New York State has enacted some of the nation’s strongest gun safety laws and expanded the support it provides to communities to assist them in their fight to reduce gun violence. All told, the state currently invests nearly $28 million in state and federal grants to help local communities in their efforts to reduce shootings and firearm-related homicides, and solve, reduce and prevent crime. The state Division of Criminal Justice Services administers this funding and provides additional training and technical support to help communities implement best practices and evidence-based strategies that have proven effective.
In addition to providing funding and training to agencies in 17 counties that participate in the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative, the state has significantly expanded its Crime Analysis Center network, which provides crime analysis, intelligence development and real-time investigative support that allow police and prosecutors to more effectively solve, prevent and reduce crime. The 10 centers, operated in partnership with local law enforcement, serve 33 counties and assist any law enforcement agency upon request.
Through a unique partnership with the state Office of Victim Services, DCJS also funds and supports the SNUG Street Outreach program, which treats gun violence as a public health issue, in 12 communities. The program employs credible messengers who detect, interrupt and intervene in high-risk disputes and social workers and case managers who address the trauma individuals face due to long-term exposure to violence. Credible messengers work to diffuse violence through mediation, mentoring and community engagement, while social workers and case managers provide counseling, support groups, advocacy and other assistance to improve lives and strengthen neighborhoods impacted by crime.
DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, “Our initiatives that support local law enforcement and community partners have been recognized nationally for best practices. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in strengthening state laws and expanding resources available to local communities. At DCJS, we are committed to continuing this work and providing ongoing training and technical assistance to help better equip our partners on the front lines of the fight against gun violence and to address its long-term, negative impact on individuals and communities.
OVS Executive Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “Gun violence has a devastating effect on the health, economy and emotional well-being of individuals and entire communities. We must do all that we can to stop it, while supporting victims and providing resources for prevention and healing. OVS is proud to partner with DCJS and SNUG to deliver those resources and we thank Governor Cuomo for his steadfast commitment to reducing gun violence.”