The Town of New Castle and Moms Demand Action will partner this Friday evening in taking a stand against gun violence with a Wear Orange Rally at the gazebo in downtown Chappaqua early Friday.
While there have been vigils in Chappaqua following many of the high-profile mass shootings around the nation in recent years, this is first time that the town has formally supported the Wear Orange effort.
Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein announced the town would be participating two weeks ago when most of the Town Board wore orange shirts during its work session and passed a resolution declaring the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The event is scheduled to get underway at 6:30 p.m.
“We face a national crisis. We must take a stand against hatred, prejudice, rage and gun violence,” Greenstein said. “Those are our national emergencies. Our voices must be heard, and we cannot stop until they are, and until our nation becomes safe and secure.”
The gazebo is illuminated in orange lights this week in support of the movement, said Naomi Morrow, a Chappaqua resident and a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Throughout this week and into the weekend, marches, proclamations, gatherings and events are being scheduled across the United States to raise awareness and press for changes in gun laws, she said.
Orange has become the color of the movement after Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-girl who was killed in her hometown in Chicago in 2013, one week after she marched in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade. Since then, orange is the color that represents the movement.
This week’s event takes place after last Friday’s latest mass shooting at the municipal complex in Virginia Beach, Va., which killed 12 people.
County Takes Action
In response to the Virginia shooting, County Executive George Latimer announced Monday, he is directing Westchester’s Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Gleason to lead a review and evaluation of security measures and protocols at all county facilities.
“What last week’s shooting shows us is that in these times we must work to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep those in our facilities safe,” Latimer said. “This shooting occurred in a municipal building where residents are required to come in for various permits, receive paperwork, etc., exactly like what occurs in municipal buildings in Westchester and nearly everywhere else around the country.”
Gleason said his department is committed to keeping Westchester residents and employees safe and will review update security procedures and protocols if needed.
To honor the victims of last weeks’ shooting – many of whom were public servants who dedicated their lives to serving their community – Latimer directed flags on Westchester County facilities be flown at half-staff.
“These 12 innocent victims were everyday people who were just living their lives, he said. “This is not normal and this is not right. Our nation must act now to stop these senseless mass shootings, unless we want to see any trip to a public space become a potential nightmare.”
In recent years, the county police have conducted Civilian Response to Active Shooter (CRASE) training for hundreds of Westchester residents. CRASE training provides people with practical guidance to help them survive an active shooter event if one occurs in their workplace or other locations where they are present.