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National Gun Violence Awareness gathering planned 

Suffolk plans to honor those lost to gun violence each year.

The Suffolk Advocacy Group is holding a small gathering to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day from 6 to 7 p.m. on June 4, at the Godwin Courthouse, 150 N. Main St.

Orange ribbons will be placed on the lampposts in the courtyard outside of the Godwin Courts building to honor gun violence victims.

“I fully support what the advocacy group is doing,” said Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman. “I will help wherever we as the City of Suffolk can to support the families of these victims of violence of all types. I hope we can reduce this violence, and we will offer any assistance we can.”

National Gun Violence Awareness Day is recognized on the first Friday of June since the murder of Hadiya Pendleton in 2013. Each year, friends and family of lost loved ones to gun violence wear orange to be seen and heard about reducing the number of lives lost.

In the June 2 City Council meeting, Duman gave a proclamation naming June 4, 2021, as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in light of “support for the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and the interests of public safety are mutually beneficial goals that protect the freedom and security of all Suffolk residents.”

Joan Turner started the Suffolk Advocacy Group that started meeting in March 2021. Turner’s son went missing in 2015 after someone claimed he was shot. She started this group to help parents and siblings of murdered or missing children have a sounding board of support.

At this gathering, victims’ friends and family are encouraged to speak and give each other love and support and to wear orange in honor of those who have lost their lives to gun violence.

“We are all concerned with the increase of violence,” said Duman. “We want to keep people safe. The number one quality of life issue is knowing that you are living in a safe environment. We will do anything we can to keep the city safe.”