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WHEREAS, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first Friday in June marks National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence; and
WHEREAS, every day more than 100 Americans are killed by gun violence, and more than 230 Americans are shot and wounded; and
WHEREAS, in an average year, the Commonwealth of Virginia has an average of 1,019 gun deaths every year, with a rate of 11.7 deaths per 100,000 people; and
WHEREAS, in January 2013, Hadiya Pendleton was tragically shot and killed at age 15; and
WHEREAS, on June 4th, 2021 to recognize the 24th birthday of Hadiya Pendleton (born on June 2, 1997), people across the country will recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day and wear orange in tribute to Hadiya Pendleton, other victims of gun violence, and the loved ones of those victims; and
WHEREAS, this idea was inspired by a group of Hadiya’s friends, who asked their classmates to commemorate her life by wearing orange, her favorite color, the color hunters wear to protect themselves while hunting, and the color that symbolizes the value of human life; and
WHEREAS, protecting public safety in the communities is one of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s top priorities; and
WHEREAS, support for the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from people that shouldn’t have them; and
WHEREAS, gun violence prevention is more important than ever after a more than a year of increased gun sales, increased calls to suicide and domestic violence hotlines, and an increase in city gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, we renew our commitment to reduce gun violence and pledge to do all we can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and encourage responsible gun ownership to help keep our children safe; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia encourages all residents to wear orange on June 4th, 2021 to raise awareness about gun violence and honor the lives of gun violence victims and survivors;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 4, 2021, as NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.