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Students march through streets to kick off "Wear Orange Weekend" and draw attention to gun violence

"Wear Orange" Gun Violence Awareness rallies held across region
"Wear Orange" Gun Violence Awareness rallies held across region 02:47

NEW YORK -- People across the nation are taking a stance against gun violence

It's National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the start of Wear Orange Weekend.

The annual event comes as a series of fatal shootings have rocked the nation including earlier this week at a hospital, last week at a school and last month at a supermarket. 

At a rally in Summit, New Jersey, some 200 people were expected. This year, speakers don't just want to raise awareness - they're passionate about seeing action. 

Moms were on Madison Avenue and 64th Street wearing orange and shouting "Save kids, not guns." 

"The biggest impact starts in the home. We are mothers from the same community. We felt helpless, shattered, didn't know what to do, where to go," said Zara Terez Tisch. 

"And this is about the gun violence that is occurring all over our city from illegal gun access," said organizer Macella Guarino. 

In Union Square Park Friday afternoon, students wearing orange walked out of school to kick off Wear Orange Weekend.

Chopper 2 was also above students walking out of class in the morning in crown heights, Brooklyn.

Wearing orange is part of a three day movement that pushes for a future free from gun violence. 

The Wear Orange organization says 40,000 people have been killed with guns, and 85,000 are shot and wounded every year.

"I'm sad to see all the children who haven't been able to grow up to my age yet," said seventh grade student Oldany Colot. 

In Albany Thursday, in the final hours of the legislative session, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed sweeping gun legislation, which Gov. Kathy Hochul says she will sign. 

It includes raising the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, and revising the state's red flag laws. 

Thursday night, President Joe Biden made an emotional address calling for similar measures nationwide, including a ban on assault weapons. 

"Imagine being that little girl, that brave little girl in Uvalde, who smeared blood off her murdered friend's body on her own face to lie still among the corpses in her classroom and pretend she was dead in order to stay alive," Biden said. 

Quotes from his speech were carried at Friday's rallies. 

Wear Orange marches started back in 2013 after 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed on a playground in Chicago, and her friends commemorated her life by wearing orange, since hunters wear it in the woods to protect themselves and others. 

Students walk out wearing orange to protest gun violence 02:03

"We're not trying to take away rights from anybody/ We're trying to do is please ask and stop the gun violence in our country," said TIsch. 

Chopper 2 was overhead as hundreds of students dressed in orange left school and marched through the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn to make their point. 

As CBS2's John Dias reported, their color may be orange, but these students are seeing red, angry about ongoing gun violence. 

"Young children, like, we want a future," seventh grader Layana Jones told Dias. 

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After learning in class about the issues and proper ways to protest, hundreds of kids from Brooklyn's Launch EL Charter School held a student-run walkout and rally with faculty members as part of the national Wear Orange Weekend to draw attention to gun violence. 

"I'm sad to see all the children who haven't been able to grow up to my age yet," seventh grader Oldany Colot said. 

Colot is only 13. 

"It's crazy how us children see the problem with gun violence, but yet adults stand by and do nothing, when adults have more power," he said. 

Their teachers, though, are in full support of the kids' messages. 

"When you look at what happened in Texas and you look at what happened in Buffalo, this is very important for it to be a concerted effort, a unified effort," SOS Crown Heights Program Manager Rahsom Johnson said.

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