DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Friday, June 2, 2023, marked National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the start of Wear Orange Weekend. It is a time to come together to lift up the victims of gun violence and their families and talk about prevention.

As an Oregon District shooting survivor, Dion Green knows all too well the toll gun violence takes on a family. His father, Derrick Fudge, was killed that night. Now, Green devotes his time to making sure this tragedy does not happen to other people. He started the Fudge Foundation and works with the youth in the community.

“These kids and youth are sitting at home or sitting in school with a lot of trauma and don’t know how to really navigate through it,” Green said.

Green is one of many advocates across the country wearing orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 17,862 deaths from gun violence since the start of 2023. In the Miami Valley, there have been multiple shootings in just the last week, and at least one person was killed.

Chief Deputy Matt Haines with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said violence usually increases as the weather gets warmer, but the rise in gun violence over the last few weeks is concerning.

“We do see an uptick in violence, including gun violence, over the hot summer months. So we are concerned that we’re already seeing these kind of issues,” Chief Deputy Haines explained.

Chief Deputy Haines said part of preventing these shootings is responsible gun ownership to ensure guns are not getting into the wrong hands.

“It’s surprising how often out in our suburbs, we’re taking reports of people that have left a firearm in an unlocked car. So be responsible not only your house and your car, have it locked up, have a gun lock, or use a safe or somewhere to keep it secure, and keep it out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have it,” Chief Deputy Haines said.

Another part of prevention is education. Kristi Woodworth is the volunteer leader for Moms Demand Action Ohio, a group dedicated to stopping gun violence. She hopes people will take time this weekend to learn more about finding solutions.

“We’re committed to going the distance on this. We’re not going to stop and we’re going to be there. We’re going to be there advocating for legislation that matters. We’re going to be there working with our community partners in affected communities,” Woodworth explained.

To learn more about Moms Demand Action, click here. To find out how to support The Fudge Foundation, click here.