COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – People nationwide are wearing orange to raise awareness of gun violence. In Columbus, city and community leaders are displaying the color and calling attention to the issue through several events.
The We Are Linden’s Wear Orange tailgate party at Maloney Park Saturday came on the heels of a violent night in the city.
The event was about raising awareness of gun violence, remembering those who lost their lives, and celebrating the survivors.
“It’s not different than bringing awareness for cancer, AIDS, any type of thing that’s going on,” Ralph Carter, the founder of We Are Linden, said.
He said the annual Wear Orange tailgate is meant to bring people together.
“Love, love, we want to send everybody love because we all need it,” Carter said.
Early Saturday morning, Columbus police said a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed in east Columbus.
Carter says enough is enough.
“We’ve got to find a way to break this cycle and that works with boots on the ground,” Carter said. “Everyone can reach someone and reaching someone, you work in your wheelhouse to find some way to help these babies.”
Carter says to fight this fight, it will take adults and teens, teens like Jaylin Garel.
“I just graduated high school and graduated from Fort Hayes career center for auto collision and automotive,” Garel, a former president of the We Are Linden ambassadors program, said.
Garel will be attending Columbus State University in the fall and said he works to get teens involved with We Are Linden and keep them away from trouble.
He said events like the tailgate show Columbus teens that the community supports them.
“Even if it is just for an hour or two, it creates a safe space and it shows everybody that we can solve our matters in a different way than just shooting,” Garel said.
Carter also stresses the importance of getting involved this summer and engaging with the youth. He said We Are Linden will hold its annual block party on Aug. 26.