During hunting season, those of us who love to walk in the woods know that we have to wear orange. Bright orange. Vests, hats, jackets— anything to stand out, to keep ourselves safe from being the targets, inadvertently, of hunters and their guns.
On June 1, we will – well, celebrate is the wrong word, under the circumstances — we will honor a second annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day, by wearing orange. Orange will again stand for safety. For keeping our children out of the crosshairs of gun violence.
For me, it is extremely important to become aware of any huge threat to our children’s safety. For Moms Clean Air Force, as I’ve written before, it isn’t about guns. It is about children. We are focused on air pollution and climate change as threats to our children’s safety. We are building a movement of parents who share our concerns. We are inspiring parents to engage, politically, in demanding an end to the climate pollution that is dangerously warming our world. To demand an end to the toxic chemicals flooding the market.
And that’s why I want to salute the amazing work done by our sisters and brothers in the gun violence prevention movement. Our organization isn’t wading into the policy debates surrounding gun violence prevention — that’s not our focus. Though personally, coming as I do from a gun-owning, gun-inventing (and very conservative) family, I will say that even my dad, long an NRA member, is appalled at the radicalism of the NRA, and supports commonsense measures like background checks.
I’m saluting work that is difficult — and urgently needed. (Tweet this) Members of Everytown for Gun Safety are often bullied, threatened, demonized, and ridiculed by their opponents. The same thing happens to the scientists and political activists working to end climate pollution. The opposition can be merciless, distorting, and terrifying. Theirs is a dirty way to fight, but sadly, it has become common.
Thankfully, no mom stands alone. No one feels more deeply the need to protect our children than their families do. And it is going to take all of us — mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers, sisters and brothers — to build the world in which we want to live. It is going to take Democrats and Republicans — and make no mistake, on climate change, as with guns, there are reasonable Republicans who not only understand and accept the science and statistics, but who are themselves fighting to make changes for the better. In the next few years, it will become more and more important for us to stand together.
When I contacted Julianne Moore, several years ago, and asked her to stand with us against coal plant polluters who were spewing mercury into our skies and water, and poisoning our food, she was right there. Now, she’s right in the middle of gun safety issues. And millions of us are right there with her.
We will all have to be right there, for each other, when it comes to our children’s safety. There will be many ways to achieve protection. But bottom line: we love our children, and want them safe. That’s what parents can agree on. And that’s powerful.