KZCF had the honor of serving as one of the sponsors and organizers of this year’s Wear Orange event, hosted in June at Bronson Park. The annual event, created by the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety Support, honors those whose lives have been affected by gun violence. The event also raises awareness about gun violence prevention efforts.

Several community organizations, leaders, advocates and survivors were in attendance as residents recounted their personal stories of how gun violence changed their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Kalamazoo resident Patrice Fuller shared how she lost her husband and the father of her children in March 2020 to gun violence after a heated argument over a youth sporting event escalated. Residents Rick and Martha Omilian recounted the story of their daughter, Maggie Wardle, who was also lost to gun violence when a former partner took her life before taking his own in October 1999. The couple created the Remembering Maggie Fund at KZCF in her memory.

The Wear Orange event serves as one of a series of strategic efforts to combat gun violence in the community. In addition to this effort, The Blueprint for Peace - Kalamazoo, a gun violence prevention plan created for the residents of Kalamazoo by community leaders in Kalamazoo, has gained popularity and favorability. The Blueprint is modeled after the original Blueprint for Peace which was created by Reggie Moore, director of Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement for the Medical College of Wisconsin.

As KZCF continues to partner with organizations and community leaders to stop gun violence, we encourage our community members to join us in the fight.