The Mayor and City Council of Euclid passed a resolution recognizing #WearOrange, gun violence awareness month, and the Guns to Gardens: National Buyback Day

Sometimes, it seems as though the bad news never ends; as though bad will has blotted out our ability to see humanity in one another, let alone the divine image.

As long as we have breath, there is something we can do about that.

The Church of the Epiphany is honoured to stand in partnership with this City Council, the Mayor, and with our friends at Our Lady of the Lake’s Nonviolence Ministry to declare and resolve that we are not helpless in the face of rising gun violence. If we have the good will, we can be good news for this City, this community, this country.

We are not trying to paper over the cracks. I hear the racism that drove a young man to Buffalo this weekend to kill people buying food. I hear the despair of the victims of crime, and those who feel imprisoned in their own lives. I am not suggesting, God forbid, that wearing orange, running a gun buyback, planting a seed makes everything ok. But as long as we have breath, we have to do something.

A gun buyback is one small thing, and from 11am – 1pm on Saturday, June 11th we will do it. Anyone can bring their guns, unloaded please and in the trunk of the car, and exchange them anonymously for a gift card. Perhaps that gun is not well secured at home, and you are just beginning to see its danger to your growing family. Perhaps the time has come to have the conversation with an older relative about the car keys, and the gun, and whether they are still safe things to have to hand. Perhaps someone left you a gun or gave you a gun that you didn’t want and don’t know what to do with. Perhaps the gun presents a danger to you. If we can help make one family, one person, one life easier, we will take that gun off your hands and hand you a gift card. As long as we have breath we have to do something.

What happens to the guns that we collect? They are done posing a threat to anyone. They will be destroyed, legally and safely, but that’s not the end of it, because in the Christian tradition we like to talk about being raised to a new life. The guns that come in on June 11th will be repurposed, as far as we can do it, into garden tools, using a simple blacksmithing forge. Think about that: the thing that was causing sleepless nights can now be used to plant lavender and chamomile to soothe the spirit. Instead of finding its way into a supermarket and wreaking havoc, it can be used to grow food for the community. At 2:30 on the same day, June 11th, we will begin that process of transformation.

So much more needs to be done. We look to our elected representatives to help us form a community that reflects good will and the values of a compassionate collection of individuals. We are in this together, and I thank the Mayor and the Council for your support of these initiatives and for this Resolution, and I look forward to continuing the work with you.

Because as long as we have breath, we are changing the world, one simple exchange at a time.

Resolution of Recognition (retyped: any errors are mine)

A resolution recognizing June 3rd, 2022 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, recognizing June as National Gun Violence Awareness Month and encouraging individuals to wear orange the first weekend in June to help raise awareness about gun violence and to honor the lives of gun violence victims and survivors.

WHEREAS, in 2016, Congresspersons joined together to introduce a resolution establishing the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day and designating June as National Gun Violence Awareness Month thereby bringing attention to the issue of gun violence and honoring the thousands of Americans who are victims of gun violence every year, including Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois on January 29, 2013; and

WHEREAS, this year, people across the United States will recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 3,2022 and wear orange in tribute to Hadiya and other victims of gun violence. Wear Orange Weekend (June 3-5, 2022) was inspired by a group of Hadiya’s friends who asked their classmates to commemorate her life by wearing orange. They chose this color because hunters wear orange to be visible to other hunters when out in the woods and orange is a color that symbolizes the value of human life; and

WHEREAS, according to the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, the CDC, Ohio Department of Health, in 2021 there were 853 homicides in Ohio and 1,798 injuries due to gun violence. Guns are used more often in suicide than in homicides and are the most common method of suicide in Ohio and U.S. In Ohio, five people die from suicide every day – and one youth dies from suicide every 33 hours; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Euclid City Council are grateful for community efforts such as The Nonviolence Ministry of Our Lady of the Lake and the Guns to Gardens: National Buyback Day at the Church of the Epiphany on June 11, 2022; and

WHEREAS, Euclid City Council, the Mayor and her Administration renew their commitment to reduce gun violence and pledge to do all they can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands, encourage responsible gun ownership to help keep our residents and children safe.


Section 1: June 3rd, 2022 is recognized as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, we recognize June as National Gun Violence Awareness Month and encourage individuals to wear orange the first weekend in June to help raise awareness about gun violence and to honor the lives of gun violence and survivors.
Section 2: That this Resolution take immediate effect.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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