The colour orange gets a new meaning

Spike Lee turns the Empire State Building lights orange to mark the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Spike Lee teamed up with the organisation Everytown for Gun Safety at the Empire State Building in New York on Wednesday (June 1) to mark the first day of Gun Violence Awareness Month on the eve of National Gun Violence Awareness Day (June 2).

Lee is a member of the organisation's board.

"This is a very important moment in American history. And people standing up all across this great country to say enough is enough. 91 Americans die every day in this country. Two-thirds are by suicide and that's not acceptable," said the New York native.

Everytown's president John Feinblatt and Lee turned the lights of the famous structure orange to highlight the "wear orange campaign" organised by the group.

"It's not a political message, it's not a policy message. It's an opportunity for people to say, we're part of a movement. We're a movement of gun safety, we're a movement of trying to envision a country where you don't have to be worried about going to school in the morning. You don't have to be worried about praying in a synagogue. You don't have to be worried when you go to a movie theatre," explained Mr Feinblatt.

Still in the grieving process, the brother of 33-year-old Ronald McPhatter, who was fatally shot at the TI rap concert in New York on May 25, said the mentality of his community needs to be changed.