Wear Orange weekend raises awareness of gun violence impact in Portland

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 9:51 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It’s Wear Orange weekend, a color uniting survivors of gun violence and those who have lost their loved ones.

Jennifer Langston is a native Portlander and two-time survivor of gun violence. She’s a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and Everytown Survivor Network.

“I was shot in Missouri in 2014,” Langston said. “Prior to that, in 2006, I had men break into my home and shoot my roommate.”

SEE ALSO: 4 injured in NE Portland shooting

Despite the traumatic violence she’s survived, she uses her story to educate people. She says she explains the impacts of gun violence families and communities face every day in our city, state and across the country.

“I never thought that the first time there would be a second time,” she said. “Now I fear the third time so by telling my story I hope to bring awareness.”

That’s also why survivors and victims’ families wear the color orange the first weekend in June. Lynda King wears orange to honor a loved one who was shot and killed almost 11 years ago.

“Very hard,” King said. “Especially days like today.”

SEE ALSO: Woman dies, man arrested in shooting at Corbett RV park

This year, Portland’s Office of Violence Prevention, Moms Demand Action and the Soul Box Project hosted a Wear Orange event to remember those lost to gun violence in the Metro area. They also teamed up to provide resources to parents to keep their kids safe this summer.

King has been volunteering with Soul Box for some time now and has built thousands of origami boxes to represent victims. She said events like these help her cope with her unimaginable loss.

“That was another factor for me joining Soul Box,” she said. “I felt that if he were here, it’s something he would do. It’s really helpful to know that there are people who are trying to do something about it. Not just saying, ‘that’s the way it is.’ It’s not the way it has to be.”