Mayor Carl Hokanson has proclaimed June 2nd as Gun Violence Awareness Day in the Borough of Roselle Park.
At the May 19, 2016 Mayor & Council meeting Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey along with Mayor Hokanson read a proclamation. They were accompanied by Patti-Wilson Fico, Jennifer Gilman, and Theresa Turner from the WearOrange campaign (link). As the three women stood holding signs that read “We Can End Gun Violence”, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”, and “Everytown For Gun Safety”, Councilwoman Storey read:
Whereas every day 91 Americans are killed by gun violence and there are countless others injured; and
Whereas Americans are 25 times more likely to be murdered with guns than people in other developed countries; and
Whereas protecting public safety in the communities they serve is the mayor’s highest responsibility; and
Whereas support for the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from dangerous people; and
Whereas June 2, 2016 would have been the 19th birthday of Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager who marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade and was tragically shot and killed just a few weeks later; and
Whereas to honor Hadiya and all Americans whose lives are cut short by gun accidents and/or violence and those who are survivors that were injured by gunshots, June 2nd 2016 was designated the second annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day; and
Whereas the idea was inspired by a group of Hadiya’s friends who asked their classmates to commemorate her life by wearing orange. They chose orange because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods and orange is a color that symbolizes human life; and
Whereas we renew our commitment to reduce gun violence and pledge to do all we can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and to encourage responsible gun ownership to help keep our children safe
With that, the Mayor Hokanson read the section that proclaimed June 2nd as Nation Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“Being a Marine, I’m all in favor of this, all in favor of background checks,” the mayor said, adding, “Being a former police officer, I know what guns can do so I’m all in favor of it and I support this 100%.”
Jennifer Gilman spoke to those in attendance, “Thank you so much to Mayor Hokanson and Roselle Park council for supporting June 2nd being Gun Violence Awareness Day in Roselle Park as it will be nationally. Moms Demand Action is a non-partisan grassroots organization that supports the Second Amendment but also supports gun sense legislation and anything that we can do to reduce the number of deaths annually and the countless people who are injured that exceeds the 33,000 that are killed every year, so thank you so much. Thank you also to the mayor for joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns which is just saying that he will also support and advocate for local common sense gun legislation.”
Gun violence personally impacted the residents of Roselle Park last year when a nine-hour standoff between the Roselle Park Police Department and a resident who barricaded himself in his house ended with the man taking his life with a gun.