WASHINGTON — Men's and women's professional sports teams in the District are teaming up to raise awareness about gun violence.
The Washington Mystics, Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, Commanders, Spirit, and D.C. Shadow announced on Friday that they are making an initial donation of $85,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety to support to support the organization's Community Safety Fund.
This announcement comes after Gun Violence Awareness Day happened on Friday. The day is also known as "Wear Orange Day" and marks what would have been the 18th birthday of Hadiya Pendleton. Pendleton marched in former President Barack Obama's second inaugural parade on Jan. 21, 2013 and a week later was shot and killed on a Chicago playground. After her death, Pendleton's family and friends started commemorating her childhood by wearing orange.
The teams say they plan on using their platforms to do more to promote gun safety initiatives. Some of the plans include changing social media avatars to orange, broadcasting data and statistics about gun violence, designing orange accented warmup clothes that have antigun violence messaging, and donating proceeds from certain sails to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Community Safety Fund.
The teams are inviting their fans to also donate directly online to Everytown's Community Safety Fund.
According to Everytown, the fund, which launched in 2018, "has granted $5.1 million to 70 organizations in 42 cities implementing promising, community-based strategies to reduce gun violence as part of our effort to support, sustain and scale their life-saving work."
The Nationals wrote in a statement, "As we continue to feel horror shock and outrage following last week's events in Uvalde, Texas, the Washington Nationals are teaming up with [other District sports teams] to call for an increased commitment to reducing gun violence in our region and across the country through commonsense measures.
The Mystics tweeted that they are uniting with the New York Liberty this evening by taking a moment of silence for gun violence.
"We urge our fans to take action now against gun violence by getting involved locally or by donating to the Everytown Community Safety Fund," the team wrote.