HUNTINGTON - A West Virginia organization will tackle gun violence throughout the area Saturday at a Ritter Park event hoping to bring an end to the issue.

Hosted by the West Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the event is part of Wear Orange Weekend, which comes after National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday. It will honor those who have been affected by gun violence in the area, as well as elevate gun violence prevention efforts across the nation.

The event will start at noon Saturday, June 8, at the Ritter Park Shelter House in Huntington.

Mayor Steve Williams, the Rev. Jacque Compton and Rabbi Jean Eglinton are expected to be in attendance. Several others are expected to speak about how gun violence has affected them personally.

The event will also include children's activities, a free lunch, speakers and a collaborative canvas art project, which will later be displayed across the state.

"Wear Orange" started in 2013 by a group of Chicago high school students who wanted to honor the life of murdered student Hadiya Pendleton by wearing the color orange. The color was chosen because it is what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others and is a color that reflects the value of human life.

Huntington saw one of its deadliest years in 2017 with 19 criminal homicides and 2,951 violent crimes reported. In 2018, violent crimes dropped by about 20% and homicide investigations dropped to eight.

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