FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Statement by APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD
Today we mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day and ask everyone to be united in the goal of ending gun violence.
This 6th annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day is dedicated to remembering and honoring all victims and survivors of gun violence, while recognizing the need for reforms on local, state and federal levels of government.
We #WearOrange not as a mere symbol with a bright color, but as a salute to this day and reflection on the value of human life. It was also the color that launched this day after a 15-year-old girl, Hadiya Pendleton, was shot and killed in Chicago one week after performing at President Obama’s second inauguration parade in 2013.
The issue of gun violence is complex and embedded in our culture, which is why we must take a public health approach addressing the root causes to ensure our families and communities are safe. We must also place a renewed emphasis on improving gun injury and violence research. Nationwide, more than 100 Americans are killed by guns and an additional 200 are shot and wounded each day. A leading cause of premature death in the U.S., guns claim the lives of more than 38,000 people and cause nearly 85,000 injuries each year.
We are currently going through an unprecedented time, and now more than ever is our moment to take this urgent stand to eliminate gun violence.
APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.