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Gun Control Activists Rally In Miami As Part of 'Wear Orange Weekend'

Relatives of shootings were among those who attended an annual gun awareness event in Miami on Saturday.
Sam Turken
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gun violence activists gathered in Miami this weekend as part of a national campaign to honor victims of shootings. 


Dressed in orange t-shirts and surrounded by orange wall decorations and balloons, relatives of shooting victims and local residents rallied on Saturday in Miami's Design District.  The annual event was organized by the Wear Orange campaign and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and featured singing, voter registration efforts and cries for more action to prevent shootings.

It was one of many across the country for Wear Orange Weekend, part of a national movement raising awareness about gun violence. The campaign's leaders say orange is symbolic because it's what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves from harm. 

Among the event's speakers on Saturday was Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed during the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Oliver noted that his son would have graduated from high school on Sunday and discussed what it's like to lose a child to a shooting. 

"Do I really need to explain to you the price of not having your son in the house? Or having an empty room and not having your best friend and son that you were planning to hang out with the rest of your life and raise your grandkids?" he asked.

The event drew local elected officials and gubernatorial candidates including Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor.

Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber called on attendees to reject lawmakers and candidates who oppose stronger gun use regulations. 

"Let them know this is what you're going to fight for," he said. "And when they knock on your door, the first question you ask them is, 'Where is your stance,' and then list your gun issues. And if they're not with you on every one of them, slam the door and yell at them, 'I'm going to donate to your opponent."

As part of the weekend campaign, buildings in several cities across Florida are lit in orange. 

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After living in North Carolina the past four years, Miami native Sam Turken is back in the city he’s always called home.