Activists turn Morristown orange for gun violence awareness day

Morristown High School seniors Christina Ledford and Lauren Blaustein at St. Peter's in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown High School seniors Christina Ledford and Lauren Blaustein at St. Peter's in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Christina Ledford and Lauren Blaustein will cherish many memories of Morristown High School when they graduate later this month.

Lockdown drills won’t be among them.

“Gun violence is a huge issue in school. It’s caused a lot of stress,” Ledford said on Friday.

Armed with signs declaring We can end gun violence, the students hit South Street with members of Morris County Moms Demand Action to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day by tying orange ribbons to signs and lampposts.

The Wear Orange movement dates to 2013, when Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago, was shot dead just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural celebration.

Moms Demand Action supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, while also supporting legislation “to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Fern Wolkin, as she attached an orange ribbon to the welcome sign at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Noreen Staples, Fern Wolkin and Estella Roibal of Morris County Moms Demand Action drape St. Peter's sign with orange ribbon for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Noreen Staples, Fern Wolkin and Estella Roibal of Morris County Moms Demand Action drape St. Peter’s sign with orange ribbon for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and the Morristown United Methodist Church planned to illuminate their houses of worship with orange light over the weekend, Wolkin said.

Common-sense gun laws will be won at the ballot box, she said.

Christine Clarke, 26th District Assembly candidate, at National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Morristown, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Christine Clarke, 26th District Assembly candidate, at National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Morristown, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“We changed the House, I believe, because of this particular issue. Now we need to change the Senate, because (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell won’t let any of these bills go through. We’ll do that in 2020. In the meantime, we’ll elect pro-common sense legislators at the local level,” Wolkin said.

As she spoke, state Assembly candidate Christine Clarke, running in the 26th District, walked up to express her support.

A gun violence survivor and a representative of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined Mayor Tim Dougherty at a brief ceremony at town hall.

“I stand with them,” Dougherty said of the Moms group. “I appreciate their continued fight to make people aware of how many people are affected by gun violence here and across the nation.”

Morristown High School seniors Christina Ledford and Lauren Blaustein at St. Peter's in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown High School seniors Christina Ledford and Lauren Blaustein at St. Peter’s in Morristown on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 7, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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