LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – On Friday, the United States recognizes June 3 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

At the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, Mayor Linda Gorton made a proclamation in honor of the gun violence awareness movement.

“I do hereby declare June 3-5, 2022 ‘Wear Orange Weekend. Wear it all weekend,” Gorton said.

Since 2015, the ‘Wear Orange’ campaign has shone a spotlight on gun violence across the nation, and Lexington participated for its sixth year in a row. While the campaign tries to reduce the number of shootings, shootings still have gone up.

According to Lexington’s 2022 Crime Data, there have been about 47 shootings to date, five alone on Memorial day just four days ago.

“In Lexington, we have lost 21 lives to gun violence, as of May 27, 2022. That’s 21 too many,” Dina Mullins, co-leader of grassroots organization, Moms Demand Action. Mullins said issues surrounding gun violence don’t just stop with the shooting, but with people failing to hold each other accountable.

“Too many unsolved crimes and families are hurting because no one is talking,” Mullins said. “Say something, before the next stray bullet at a cookout, a movie theatre, a park, a stoplight, a grocery store, a shopping mall, a church, or a music event hits you or a loved one.”

As part of Friday’s rally, one survivor of gun violence, April Valentine, spoke out about her experience.

“I was shot five times and they didn’t expect me to make it,” Valentine said.

Valentine said her disability is because of a senseless act of gun violence that start with a lack of nurturing.

“Who’s taking care of our kids? Better yet, who’d guiding them?” Valentine asked.

State Sen. Reggie Thomas, from Lexington, also spoke and pointed out that background checks are a possible solution, but still have room for improvements.

“Eight out of nine Lexingtonians want background checks,” Thomas said. “Because under our state law here in Kentucky, all gun laws have to be universal across the state. And the fact of the matter is, that sometimes urban issues are different from rural issues. We’re going to change that law and allow for urban issues to have the flexibility to adopt gun laws that are different than rural issues.”

Sheriff Kathy Witt spoke about legislation against gun violence that they’re hoping will pass next year at the national level.

“Senator Thomas I was honored when the FBI asked me in joining them to create an ‘Extreme Risk Protection Order’ file. We have that file on the national level right now, and … Kentuckians deserve it,” Witt said.

Witt also gave credit to how helpful it is for her team when citizens call the police tip lines with information regarding crimes.

“We saw the murders over the course of a few days, Erick Boone, Todd Kenion, and Malcom Long, calls started coming into the Lexington’s sheriff’s office and we shared that information with the detectives. And that’s what it takes,” Witt said. “If you have a slither of information, share it with the police department.”

Gorton said starting Friday evening, Lexington’s Helix Parking Garage and the City Center downtown will light up orange and stay orange all weekend as a reminder of gun violence awareness.

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