LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The City of Louisville recognized National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday and urges residents to wear orange over the weekend to spread the message.
City officials joined a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America at Jefferson Square Park on Friday morning.
The event stressed the importance of gun safety and called for the community to help police get illegal guns off the streets.
“Every year, nearly 40,000 Americans are shot and killed,” Cathy Mekus, the Louisville Local Group Lead of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said. "This is an epidemic that must be tackled from all sides and it will take all of us, from our unique perspectives and walks of life, to make positive change.”
City officials shared statistics saying Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with guns than people in other developed countries.
They also said firearms are the second leading cause of death for American children and teens.
Hollan Holm, a survivor of the Heath High School shooting in Paducah, spoke about that day in 1997.
Holm was shot in the head when a 14-year-old opened fire on a group of students who were praying before class.
“I laid still, closed my eyes and played dead,” Holm said. “Because even at 14 in high school, I remembered back to a mass shooting at a cafeteria in Texas where the survivors did the same thing. I said what I thought would be my final prayer and readied myself to die.”
The city will continue to spread awareness over the weekend using the color orange.
The Historic City Hall’s Clock Tower will glow orange, all 24 CityPost Kiosks downtown will be orange at night and the Big Four Bridge will also light up orange.
Saturday, a Wear Orange Picnic is happening at noon at Sheppard Park (1601 Magazine Street) to also raise awareness.
There will be a community walk followed by a celebration with free food, games, music, face painting, group yoga and more. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange.