Moms Demand Action of Garland County will host Hot Springs' first Wear Orange Hullabaloo community event from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Family Park, 215 Family Park Road, in observance of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, which is Friday.
"Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence," according to the organization's website.
Garland County's chapter is trying to promote gun safety and awareness in several ways, organizers said.
"One of the things that Moms Demand Action is trying to do across the county is have their cities proclaim the first Friday in June as Gun Violence Awareness Day," said one of the county chapter's co-leads, and Democratic Party of Garland County Chairman Hayden Shamel.
Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe presented the group with a proclamation at Tuesday's Hot Springs Board of Directors meeting at City Hall naming the first Friday in June as Hot Springs Gun Violence Awareness Day.
According to a release from Moms Demand Action of Garland County, Saturday's Wear Orange Hullabaloo is "dedicated to honoring the lives of Americans affected by gun violence and promoting gun safety in our communities."
The organization has invited the entire community of Hot Springs to the event calling it a "free, family friendly" occasion, "where community partners will share educational information as well as personal experiences about the importance of gun safety measures and where we will honor survivors of gun violence."
The event is not geared toward adults or children specifically, but rather families, Shamel said.
There will be a sidewalk chalk art competition, popcorn, sodas, a balloon artist, a performance by local poet Kai Coggin, a presentation by a pediatrician about gun safety and other activities, all free of charge.
Elizabeth Colgrove, a survivor of an active shooter situation in Dallas several years back, will speak about her experience.
"We'll have a moment of silence for all of those who have been affected by gun violence at the beginning, since that's the whole point of the event," Shamel said.
Led by Shamel and fellow co-lead Kay Hughes, Moms Demand Action of Garland County had its first meeting on April 9. The nonpartisan volunteer group has around 15 members, Shamel said. Saturday's event, which took six weeks of planning, will be the organization's first community event.
Shamel emphasized Moms Demand Action's stance on firearms, clarifying misconceptions she felt that some might have about the group.
"Me and my husband own guns. We are very pro-Second Amendment. We think it's important to protect our kids. I think that's what we fail within the gun debate: that those who are about gun safety are anti-gun. That's not the case. There can be a marriage between gun rights and gun safety. And that's what we're working toward," she said.
"We're not anti-gun. We are pro-gun safety. We are pushing for gun safety, common sense legislation and promote awareness about the number of deaths we see. We don't want to sit back and do nothing."
She said she considers hunting and gun culture integral to the culture of Arkansas and this will likely always be the case in the state.
"We are pro-Second Amendment, so I would hope that we don't experience any push back, because who is against gun safety? We want to have a huge crowd. But we don't know. We're going to be pleased no matter what the outcome is because this is our first event."Local on 06/06/2019