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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Wear Orange

Entered in Non-Profit


On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama's 2nd inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed back in Chicago. Soon after this tragedy, Hadiya's childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange. They chose the color because hunters wear orange in the woods to protect themselves and others.

On June 2nd, 2015—what would have been Hadiya's 18th birthday—a broad-based coalition joined with Hadiya's friends to observe the 1st annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. On this day, Americans were asked to wear orange to honor Hadiya's life, plus those of the 88 Americans shot and killed every day. With this simple act, participants pledged to honor the lives of Americans stolen by gun violence, help keep firearms out of dangerous hands, commit to responsible gun ownership and to protect our children from gun violence.

Strategy and Execution

The gun violence prevention movement is often associated with days of mourning—for example, the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. The Wear Orange coalition sought to create a moment in which Americans who believe that more should be done to end gun violence could unite under a hopeful and inclusive banner.

The coalition made it as simple as possible to activate supporters on social media: We built a partner set of 66 nonprofit organizations to push out the Wear Orange message, and asked people to pledge to wear orange on June 2nd. We gave unbranded digital assets for partners to modify and use on their own accounts.

To help tell Hadiya's story and build excitement for the campaign, we launched and promoted a short narrative video. By June 1st, three quarters of a million people had seen the video.

We also created a tool to help people show their social networks why they were #WearingOrange. Users were able to upload a photo of themselves, a loved one or something else of their choosing, and the site added an orange overlay with the Wear Orange brand; users could then share the image with their networks. Thus, fans were #WearingOrange digitally to help promote the offline action on June 2nd, and organically getting the word out about the campaign.


Wear Orange was a massive success for our coalition: President Obama, Julianne Moore, Russell Simmons, the New York Mets, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Motown Records and more than 200 noteworthy individuals and organizations answered the call, taking to social media to show their support.

#WearingOrange trended nationally and then globally for hours. On Twitter, 40K users used our hashtag more than 87K times, with a total reach of more than 217 million people.

Inspired by our promotional graphics—which showed cities turning orange—supporters turned local landmarks orange, including the Chicago Theater, several of the tallest buildings in Mobile, Alabama, and the Rhode Island Statehouse.


Video for Wear Orange

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Everytown for Gun Safety

Entry Credits