Orange brings visibility to gun violence in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Perhaps you saw a lot of people wearing orange around town Friday. There is a reason for it. Those people are using the color to mark Gun Violence Awareness Day. This is the first time people in Lexington are taking part.

Orange is the color hunters wear in the field for safety. It is for that reason organizers of this movement are wearing it during what feels like a particularly violent time in Kentucky. The Governor announced a solution Thursday, but for some advocates, it is not enough.

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Parks are typically filled with the joyful sounds of growing up, but a different sound resonates with Anita Franklin. That is the sound of gunshots, particularly the ones that killed her 21-year-old son as he was just hanging out in the park he loved.

“No one could possibly ever feel how I feel until they have lost a child. The ultimate responsibility of a parent is to provide for their kids,” Franklin said.

She has channeled her grief and anger into action. First, with a violence intervention project. Now, with Moms Demand Action, the group which, for the first time this year, brings the Wear Orange movement to Lexington.

Moms Demand Action is not the only group talking about gun violence this week in Kentucky. Just a day earlier, Governor Matt Bevin was in Louisville where there were 123 homicides last year. There, he advocated for prayer walks as the beginnings of a solution. Some activists say they have done enough prayer. Now, they need help from state leaders.

Most of the people meeting in Lexington Friday, though, say at least people will be out talking about the problem.

“What we first need to know is who’s really interested, and how you do that is you get a group of people together that say, ‘I’m in,'” Franklin said.

For her, anything that could bring back peaceful play to parks is a good start. Franklin’s violence intervention project is well known for peace walks of its own. The next walk is next Saturday.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!