The MemorialCare Trauma Center at Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach partnered with the Trauma Center at Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center to gather community members and officials to wear orange and stand in solidarity with those who have been affected or impacted by gun violence and bring awareness to the growing gun violence public health crisis. Representatives from the offices of Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Senator Lena A. Gonzalez, and Councilwoman Suely Saro attended the press conference, as well as members of the Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Police Department.
Graham Tse, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s, and Gloria Carter, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Executive, Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center, addressed the public health crisis that continues to plague America. The two spoke to doctors, nurses, elected officials, first responders, and community members donned with orange shirts and masks and carrying signs calling for the end to gun violence. Both Trauma Centers have seen an increase of gun violence incidents compared to pre-pandemic times.
“We must acknowledge that gun violence is a public health crisis,” says Graham Tse, MD, Chief Medical Officer, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We need to act - as citizens, as a health system, and as a country. We simply can’t let this be our normal or, as others have eloquently put it, grow numb to the violence.”
Each year, approximately 40,000 people are killed and 85,000 are shot and wounded by guns. There have been at least 233 mass shootings in the 154 days that have elapsed in 2022, meaning there has been more than one mass shooting each day this year. These mass shootings represent the death or injury of at least four victims excluding the shooter. In 2022 alone, there have been at least 695 children and teens killed and 1725 injured. It was especially important for the Long Beach Trauma Centers to unite after the recent Tulsa, Oklahoma medical center shooting, which devastated the healthcare community.
The first Friday of June is designated as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, where supporters wear orange to honor the survivors of gun violence. This tradition originated in honor of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago in 2013. In commemoration of her life, her childhood friends wore orange, the color hunters wear in order to protect themselves and others in the woods. Ever since 2015, which would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday, #WearOrange has become a growing trend, as mass shootings continue to claim victims each year.