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Second annual march draws elected officials, 100 residents to protest rise in gun deaths

COURTESY PHOTO: ANNEMARIE JACQUES - State Sen. Chuck Riley, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and state Rep. Courtney Neron lead a march through downtown Hillsboro, calling for new gun legislation to end mass killings. More than 120 people gathered in downtown Hillsboro on Saturday for the second annual Wear Orange march sponsored by the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The march drew several Hillsboro-area elected officials, including Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, state Sen. Chuck Riley and state Reps. Susan McLain, Janeen Sollman and Courtney Neron.

The crowd marched along downtown sidewalks to spread the group's message for legislative changes to gun-safety laws at the local and national level. According to the group, an average of 96 Americans are killed by gun violence every day.

Saturday's event included speeches from survivors of gun violence, including survivors of mass shootings, domestic violence and criminal assaults, who shared stories about how their lives have been changed due to gun violence.

Moms Demand Action was founded in 2012 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, which left 28 dead. Since then, the group has grown to more than 4 million members, with chapters in each state.

National "Wear Orange" demonstrations sparked after the death of Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton in 2013. Pendleton was shot by mistake after the alleged shooters mistook her and a group of friends for a rival gang, according to prosecutors. Pendleton had performed in Washington, D.C., during then-President Barack Obama's second inauguration a week before her death.

The Hillsboro chapter of Moms Demand Action saw a surge in membership after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, which left 17 people dead and more than a dozen wounded.

The group held its first downtown Hillsboro march last June.

Wear Orange events are held nationwide the first weekend in June, to commemorate Gun Violence Awareness Day.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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