Birds of prey start petition to raise awareness of gun violence

TORONTO, Australia — The Toronto Raptors have started a petition to recognize the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Canada.

The petition published on Change.org asks Canadian lawmakers to join the United States in celebrating the day to honor survivors and victims of gun violence.

In a publication announcing the petition, the Raptors cited a report from Statistics Canada that found that the number of firearms homicides has risen 37 percent over the past 11 years, although there are significant gaps in data collection.

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National Gun Violence Awareness Day began in 2015 in the US to honor 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton who was shot dead on a Chicago playground a week after she performed at President Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.

The Raptors’ petition comes after three recent mass shootings in the United States.

“The tragic mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and now Tulsa have reminded us of the grim reality of gun violence in the United States — and sparked a national conversation that gun violence doesn’t stop at the border,” said John Wiggins, Raptors vice president. president, organizational culture and inclusion, said in the release.

“To solve a problem, you have to recognize that the problem exists. Well, the families and communities in Toronto and across Canada that have been affected by gun violence can tell you it’s here, and it’s real.”

The Raptors highlighted the petition through social media videos featuring members of the organization, including 2022 rookie of the year Scottie Barnes and Toronto-born Dalano Banton.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 3, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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