CHICAGO — As families across the nation suffer daily from senseless shootings, Friday’s Peace March and Rally brought awareness to “National Gun Violence Awareness Day,” also known as “Wear Orange Day.”

The summer months are a time when we often see a spike in gun violence, but community leaders and students marched through Chicago’s Austin neighborhood shouting various chants like “No more silence, an end to gun violence.”

“This is something that is deeply personal to me as the mayor of the city of Chicago, but here is what I am encouraged by that the pain and suffering that our communities have experienced over decades of disinvestment,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “We’re not allowing that to stop us from bringing people together to bring about the investment so that we can finally put an end to this violence.”

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, the mother of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed at the age of 15 in 2013, was at the center of the March. On Friday, Hadiya would have turned 26-years-old.

“All those moments that happened for those 15 years I was blessed to have her on this planet and that her brother was blessed to have her and her father was blessed to have her and so many others it matters and it shows today in 2023,” Cowley-Pendleton said.

Wear Orange Day was first recognized on June 2, 2015. The color orange, worn by hunters, signifies not being a target. Several in the crowd also wore green for Mental Health Awareness.