It was only this year that I heard about the # Wear Orange movement. Thursday, June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“The color orange symbolizes the value of human life. Hunters wear orange in the woods to protect themselves and others. In 2013, teens on the South Side of Chicago asked classmates to honor their murdered friend by wearing orange.” And it has become a national movement.
I asked my friend Ruth Senchyna to write about it from her very personal perspective:
On Thursday, June 2nd, I will Wear Orange to commemorate the life of my beloved nephew Camilo Senchyna-Beltran, who was shot and killed in December 2014 in San Francisco, the city in which he lived. Camilo was 26 years old, had just successfully completed paramedic training, and was out on the town celebrating with friends. He was a bright, beautiful and loving young man, with his whole life ahead of him, but his light was extinguished by another young man with a gun. A young man who—we were to find out after his arrest—was himself a shooting victim just a year before.
Although Camilo grew up in San Francisco, he also loved Albany, where his grandmother lived. He spent many of his Christmas and summer vacations here, and especially loved whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
I will also Wear Orange on June 2nd for the other 30,000 lives lost to gun violence in our nation every year. And for the countless others left behind to mourn the lives lost needlessly due to our inability as a nation to address this epidemic in any type of meaningful way.
Please join us on June 2nd in honoring Camilo’s life, as well as the thousand other lives cut short by gun violence in our city and our nation. I am grateful to Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region for providing the space and opportunity to do so. From 4 – 6 pm on June 2nd, we will gather at Trinity Alliance at 15 Trinity Place in Albany to observe National Gun Violence Awareness Day. We will also honor the life and work of Brother Yusuf Burgess on that day, who worked tirelessly to provide urban youth with positive alternatives to the cycle of violence that ensnares and destroys the futures of far too many young in our nation.
The mission of Trinity Alliance is to promote services to the community that will support and promote healthy families, adults and children. Their agency is dedicated to improving the neighborhood as a setting for family life, contributing to health and well-being, and promoting education and employment as a means of self-development. Albany Cure Violence and Leader Leading Troy’s Youth are anti-violence intervention and prevention programs run by Trinity Alliance.
Ruth Senchyna was born and raised in Albany, and currently resides in the South End. After stints in the Bay Area and southern Africa, she returned to Albany in 2009, and is currently employed by the NYSDOH/AIDS Institute. Since the loss of her nephew to gun violence in 2014, she has channeled her grief into activism, primarily through Everytown for Gun Safety. She is grateful to Trinity Alliance for providing the opportunity and space to develop a memory garden for those lost to gun violence on the Brother Yusuf Burgess Community Garden site.