NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) — Groups and organizations across San Diego joined a nationwide effort to raise awareness about gun violence this weekend.
In National City, gun violence survivors, former gang members, and San Diego city officials spoke during a "Wear Orange" event at Charity Apostolic Church.
Orange is the symbolic color of the gun violence prevention movement.
Cornelius Bowser is a Bishop at the church and organized the event. He's also a former gang member.
"I'm a former crip, and we did a lot of damage to our community, so this is our way paying back," Bowser said.
Bowser now uses his ministry, Shaphat Outreach, to educate young people about gang and gun violence.
"The main thing to help them change their lives is to change their thinking," Bowser said.
During the event, Essie Mae Horne told her story as a gun violence survivor.
In 2006, Horne and her husband were shot at during a home invasion. Her husband died.
Ten years later, her twin brother was shot and killed.
Horne not only speaks about gun violence awareness and prevention but advocates for more mental health resources to help people cope with trauma
"A lot of stuff needs to change, but through time and events like we're having today, it will change because we're coming together in positivity and greatness," said Horne.
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot also spoke during the event.
She said she supports banning assault rifles.
"I certainly appreciate that responsible gun owners should have the ability to protect themselves but do they need military-grade weapons? I don't see the logic in that whatsoever," Elliot said.