When hunters go into the forest, to protect themselves from unintended gun fire they wear orange. Orange, a bright and vibrant color, keeps hunters safe in an environment blasting of guns and lethal bullets flying. Sadly, our young children in urban America are living out their innocence in an identical reality…in the midst of gun shots and whizzing, life-taking bullets.
All too well, the evening news has familiarized us with the names of the young lives we’ve lost, now included as statistics of random gun violence. There is one whose name and legacy sparked a movement to keep our children safe…to keep stray bullets from snatching innocence.
“Project Orange Tree is an awareness campaign that focuses on educating youth about violence and its roots (structural violence). It is completely ran by teens of Chicago and is in close affiliation with the Lupe Fiasco Foundation. The color orange is used because hunters wear the color to warn other hunters not to shoot. We took that same concept and applied it to the violence in Chicago. We used the tree because it represents both life and prosperity. Incorporating both the color orange and the tree we created: Project Orange Tree.
Most of the victims that died in the year 2012 were innocent bystanders. By wearing orange on April 1st we are showing others that we are human and wish not be gunned down, because bullets do not discriminate against race, age, or sexual orientation. Gun Violence has become an epidemic, and will soon result in genocide, especially in the African American community.
“Structural violence refers to systematic ways in which social structures harm or otherwise disadvantage individuals. Structural violence is subtle, often invisible, and often has no one specific person who can (or will) be held responsible.” By raising awareness about how structural violence directly affects deviant behavior we can slow down gun violence in Chicago. The people have to realize that gun violence is a result of how the government has manipulated variables that put us in cramped homes, land us in food deserts, and gives us poor educational opportunities, all resulting in deviant behavior.
In order to make a difference, the citizens of the world have to correctly identify the root problem of violence, and find ways fix them, or build a bridge over it. Project Orange Tree is doing this.
Wearing orange on April 1st will create unity amongst all races, ages, genders, and economic statuses, while providing awareness about structural violence, ultimately creating a central mindset: Peace on earth.”
My organization, Girls Like Me Project, Inc. is standing in solidarity with these young people. My entire house hold will be wearing orange today (April 1).
There is more to be done whether in Chicago or other cities.
Like Project Orange Tree on Facebook
Post pictures of you wearing orange to social networks
If you are in Chicago, I’ll see you tonight at Chicago State University for Word Is Balm where Project Orange Tree’s young people will be on the mic.
Bless the children who have a vision. Guide the adults who are the example.
Heal our community! Project Orange Tree is our way forward!