Redwood City – With guns now the leading cause of death among children and teens in the United States, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to recognize June 2, 2023, as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Residents are encouraged to “honor those whose lives are cut short and the countless survivors who are injured by shootings every day,” according to the proclamation introduced by Supervisor Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors, and Supervisor Noelia Corzo.
“This year a proclamation honoring survivors of gun violence takes on added significance because of the tragedy we experienced in Half Moon Bay,” Pine said. “Setting policy and funding programs will always be important, but so is continuing to make people aware of the costs of gun violence – the lives lost, families shattered, and communities changed forever.”
On Jan. 23, 2023, seven people were killed in a mass shooting at farms in Half Moon Bay, one of 236 mass shootings in the United States in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
“We know that gun violence is a preventable disease that plagues our country in a way that is unique,” Corzo said. “We honor the communities shattered by gun violence…. Together we call for meaningful action to save lives. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence.”
Ruth Borenstein of Brady: United Against Gun Violence said firearm violence in California is trending downward due to “common-sense” measures enacted by the state and local governments.
“I believe very deeply that cities and counties are the laboratories of democracy,” Borenstein said. “What California does gets followed in other states. We are making progress and I don’t want to lose sight of that.”
The first Friday in June marks the beginning of “Wear Orange” Weekend -- this year recognized June 2 to June 4, 2023 – honoring the memory of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed at a Chicago playground a week after matching in President Obama’s 2013 second inaugural parade. Orange is the color hunters wear for safety.
Deborah Kemper, executive director of the San Mateo County Bar Association, continues to experience the impact of gun violence more than five decades after her mother, Lorena Thompson, was killed when she was 7 years old.
“Fifty-eight years later, I have children she’s never met. I have grandchildren she’s never met. I have six foster children she’s never met,” Kemper said. “You want to know the effects of gun violence? The person who suffers from gun violence suffers a lifetime. It becomes a generational loss.”
The proclamation notes that an average of 3,540 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 35 percent of deaths are by suicide and 60 percent are by homicide.
The proclamation, which was presented to Kemper along with Borenstein and representatives of Moms Demand Action, notes that the Board of Supervisors has taken action to reduce gun violence by enacting legislation to require safe storage of firearms in the home, supporting gun buyback events and implementing firearm relinquishment orders, among other actions.
In approving the proclamation 5-0, the Board “renews its commitment to reduce gun violence by pledging to do all it can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and encouraging responsible gun ownership.”
Linda R. Wolin
Chief of Staff
Office of Supervisor Dave Pine
Rudy Espinoza Murray
Chief of Staff
Office of Supervisor Noelia Corzo