In 2008, Hadiya Pendleton starred in a YouTube video that spoke against gang violence. The clip, which was produced by Digital Youth Network—a program that, as DNA Info explains, offers after-school and in-class opportunities for students to practice media production while relaying positive messages—was a part of the SAVE (Stop Abuse and Violence Everywhere) Project.
“So many children out there are in gangs, and it is your job as students to say no to gangs and yes to a great future,” she said in the video. “So many children in the world have died from gang violence,” a girl next to her added. “More than 500 children have died from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
On January 29, 2013, Hadiya, who was only 15, was shot and killed on a Chicago playground. She had just performed at President Obama’s second inauguration days prior.
“Look at yourself and know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a nonviolent person,” Nate Pendleton, Hadiya’s father, said. “This kid didn’t like violence at all. She was destined for great things, and you stripped that from her.”
In an effort to raise awareness and honor Hadiya’s life, Hadiya’s friends decided to wear orange on her birthday, June 2—also known as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The movement blossomed into the Wear Orange campaign, which brought together over 300 partners and a quarter of a million Americans on National Gun Violence Awareness Day last year.
“Gun violence kills more than 90 Americans a day and injures hundreds more,” Wear Orange writes on their site. “That’s why this June 2nd on National Gun Violence Awareness Day, Americans across the country will Wear Orange—a color that demands to be seen—to send the powerful message that there is more we can do to end gun violence.”
Watch Wear Orange’s stirring new video, which features Nate and Cleo Pendleton, above.