On Friday, June 5, we observe Wear Orange Day, a national day of awareness about the scourge of gun violence in the United States. We wear orange to call attention to the epidemic of gun violence facing our country, and to fight for a future free from gun violence.
The Book of Proverbs instructs us to “speak up for those who cannot speak...to raise our voices on behalf of the vulnerable and downtrodden.” (Proverbs 31:8-9). The individuals who make up America’s prison population are isolated, vulnerable, and voiceless.
I carry the trauma of my ancestors, who were kidnapped and enslaved, who survived post-abolition racist terrorism, and who survived devastating Jim Crow laws. I also carry the history of the Jewish people, who have survived countless acts of violence, forced conversion, and genocide.
I run the Squirrel Hill Health Center, a nonprofit federally funded community health center in Pittsburgh. Many people have asked me what it feels like in the trenches. The answer? We feel very much alone.