On Friday — National Gun Violence Awareness Day — Sedgwick will join with others around the country to participate in the kickoff to Wear Orange Weekend

By Julie Mazziotta Adam Carlson
May 29, 2018 02:00 PM

For actress Kyra Sedgwick, America’s regular gun massacres are a wrenching call to action.

On Friday — National Gun Violence Awareness Day — Sedgwick will join with others around the country in wearing orange to honor those killed by gun violence and to focus on gun safety efforts. Friday is also the kickoff to Wear Orange Weekend, with events continuing through Sunday.

Supporters will be posting on social media under the hashtag #wearorange.

“All of it seems like a drop in the bucket, but if everyone becomes a little bit of an activist a couple of times a year, it makes you feel like a citizen of this world, a citizen of America, who is trying to advocate for change and guidelines and safety,” Segwick, 52, tells PEOPLE.

“Wear Orange is just one of those symbolic things that’s part of the whole fight for some kind of regulation for gun violence and meaningful gun control legislation being passed,” she explains. “And not to forget. To constantly bring it to the forefront. I think we have a really short memory because it’s too painful, experiencing that horror all the time. But it’s important that we have a voice to that.”

Eli Winston/Everett Collection/Alamy

The campaign — which was launched by Everytown for Gun Safety and is supported by other actors such as Julianne Moore — was started after the death of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old who was shot after school in Chicago in 2013.

“I can’t imagine sending my kids to school right now,” says Sedgwick, mom to daughter Sosie and son Travis with her husband, Kevin Bacon.

“You have to believe that you’re sending your child to a safe place, and the idea that people get called all the time, that we’re in lockdown, that there’s an emergency, that there’s someone with a gun — I can’t imagine the horror of that,” Sedgwick says.

RELATED VIDEO: Emma Gonzalez & Other Florida Student Activists Explain the Gun Reform They Want to See

Attending the March for Our Lives earlier this year, organized by survivors of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, alongside the parents of the victims was particularly moving.

“Hugging these parents — I’m forever changed by that,” Sedgwick says. “They are devastated beyond comprehension. Having a child die before you in any circumstance is untenable, but to have a child taken away from you because a child was able to get a gun. When their unalienable right to be safe in school is violated, it’s just … it was life-changing to be that close to those parents.”

The former Ten Days in the Valley and The Closer star says she’s “not trying to take away anyone’s guns, but I do feel that the government is supposed to be by the people, for the people.”

She knows that participating in Wear Orange can seem minor, but that’s also what makes it “such an easy ask.”

“This is a way of making our voices heard on a non-voting day,” she says.

And after that, says Sedgwick, “We need to get people in office who are advocating for making that change.” She calls direct outreach to political leaders “a huge part” of anti-gun violence efforts.

“We’re asking for sane gun control,” she says. “It’s become this polarizing thing, but it’s very simple, it’s not that complicated. Are we on the side of our kids or are we on the side of people getting easy access to guns, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re coming from, no matter what your mental health, no matter your age?”

Wear Orange Weekend begins Friday with events through Sunday. More information is available online or by emailing info@momsdemandaction.org.

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