CHICAGO — The raging gun violence in Chicago and across the U.S. has Illinois political leaders and other officials discussing ways to prevent shootings.

Friday’s meeting comes ahead of “Wear Orange Weekend” honoring 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton and other victims of violence.

It is also National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin along with Cook County officials are calling for action following mass shootings nationwide from Uvalde to Buffalo to Tulsa, and ongoing concerns over gun violence here in Chicago.

They talked about investments in prevention programs and echoed President Joe Biden, who Thursday night called for several gun measures — including a ban on assault weapons. That is unlikely to happen, but Durbin said negotiations with Senate Republicans continue on a modest agenda.

 “This is gun violence day, gun violence week, sadly it’s gun violence year in America — and it’s been that way for too damn long. This gun violence has become so common that it defines our country,” Sen. Durbin said.

“As a mother, as a grandmother, as a teacher, the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa, and the ongoing violence in Cook County, feel very personal. But awareness is not enough. We’ll continue to address the systemic factors that led to this crisis and advocate for effective gun safety policies,” Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in Chicago days after performing at former President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. June 2 would have been her 25th birthday. 

“I had her. Her dad had her for 15 years and they were an amazing 15 years,” her mother Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton said. “I cannot not smile when I think about her because she was funny. She had so much promise that we all missed out on.”

More on Hadiya’s Foundation here.

She said she wants people to come together and have fun Saturday celebrating her daughter’s life at the Orange Day Peace Party.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. at Hadiya Pendleton Park at 43rd Street and Calumet. 

“I’ve been in the movement since 2013 saying something needs to happen,” she said. “I just think people need to be bold enough and have the courage to stand up to those who think a right to bear arms is more important than a right to live.”