Metuchen to take part in National Gun Violence Awareness Day

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METUCHEN — Metuchen has joined municipalities across the country in declaring the first Friday in June National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Mayor Jonathan Busch read a proclamation at a meeting on May 21, alluding to the timing since a 17-year-old student fatally shot 10 people and injured 13 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18.

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“Ninety-six Americans are killed by gun violence a day and on average there are nearly 1,300 gun violence homicides every year,” Busch said.

Busch said a mayor’s highest responsibility is “protecting the communities they serve” and “mayors and law enforcement officers know their communities best, are the most familiar with local criminal activity, know how to handle it and are in the best position to keep their citizens safe.”

The proclamation further states “the support of Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens goes hand in hand with keeping guns away from dangerous people.”

The designation of June 1 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day is in honor of Hadiya Pendelton, a 15-year-old girl who was gunned down weeks after she had marched in President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 13, 2013; as well as the 96 American lives cut short each day and countless survivors who are hurt by gun violence, according to the proclamation.

This year marks the fourth year for the designation, which would have been Hadiya’s 21st birthday.

Anyone can join the campaign by pledging to wear orange on June 1 to help raise awareness of gun violence. The reason is because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods.

“Orange is the color that symbolizes human life,” Busch said as he read the proclamation.

Students in the borough have joined other schools across America in their protests to end gun violence. A nationwide outcry resulted from a 19-year-old gunman killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

On April 20, students from Metuchen High School and Edgar Middle School marched from their schools to Borough Hall.

On March 24, the borough held a community event to raise awareness of gun violence at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Route 27.

And on March 14, students at Edgar Middle School wore orange T-shirts and organized a moment of silence to show support for the victims of Parkland. Students at Metuchen High School also participated to show support.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.

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