ROANOKE, Va. – Moms in the Roanoke Valley are fighting back against gun violence. Friday is National Gun Violence Prevention Day and to honor those lost to gun violence and demand change, they're encouraging everyone to wear orange.
Karen Cobb says she started the local chapter just a few months ago in response to recent gun violence in our area and nationwide.
Cobb says she's no stranger to gun violence. She has four friends who have lost their sons to gun violence within the last six months. She says she knows their heartache as her own son, Kyle Ellis, a William Fleming graduate, was shot and killed in Florida nearly 10 years ago. He was 24 years old.
She says it's his memory and the memory of others like him that keeps her going when the fight against gun violence can seem overwhelming.
"I think about my granddaughter, his daughter who was two years old when he was killed," says Cobb. "She's 12 now and she comes and spends every summer with me. I look at her generation and I say, 'I have to do this for her generation, for those who are coming behind her.' That's what keeps me going."
Cobb encourages everyone to wear orange Friday, a day that she says has two meanings. First, she says it's to honor those who have lost their lives to gun violence. She says it's also a day to demand a future free from gun violence.
Orange was chosen because it's a color organizers say demands to be seen. When the first National Gun Violence Prevention Day was organized in 2013, orange was chosen because it's the same color that hunters wear in the woods and represents human life.
Each day 90 lives are cut short by gun violence and hundreds of others are hurt nationwide.
"It's to recognize those who have been slain by gun violence," says Cobb. "It's also a call to action, to say, 'Let's do something about this. Let's come together as a community, as a state, as a nation,' It's not to take guns away, that's not what we're about. But we want to find solutions where we can close those loopholes."
She also encourages non-legislative measures like gun safety training and teaching people to lock up their weapons.
For more details on Wear Orange Day and for the Moms Demand Action group in Roanoke, click here.