COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dozens gathered in Richland County on Saturday in memory of those who have lost their lives to gun violence.

This comes as part of a nationwide movement by the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to curb gun-related deaths and raise awareness, in part, by wearing orange.

The South Carolina chapter of the organization partnered with The Richland County Coroner's Office and Set Free Ministries to put on a ceremony with the goal of making positive change.

People chanted "stop the violence" as they marched through a neighborhood near the Richland County Coroner's Office, many sporting orange shirts and signs to raise awareness.

Roberta McKelvin was among the crowd. She lost her 21-year-old son Nathaniel McKelvin III in a shooting on November of 2013.

Buttons of Nathaniel McKelvin
Mother of Nathaniel McKelvin III wears buttons in memory of him.
Kayland Hagwood

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He was a graduate of W.J. Keenan High School and described by his mother as "humble" and "kind." Years later, she says the pain is still raw.

"It's been hard," McKelvin said. "I been up; I been down. Not a day go by that I don't think of Nate."

She wore orange on Saturday in his honor and shared his story with the hope that it could help others not feel the same pain.

Roberta McKelvin
Roberta McKelvin lost her son Nathaniel to gun violence in 2013. She wore orange on Saturday in memory of him.
Kayland Hagwood

"I am his voice now. I speak out for him and so many others," McKelvin said.

Her story was one of many at Columbia's wear orange event on Saturday. 

Wear orange march 2019
Dozens gathered in Richland County for a ceremony to honor those lost to gun violence and push for change.
Kayland Hagwood

Organization leaders with Moms Demand Action hope events like these can help raise awareness for gun violence and curb the problem.

"Violence in our country, in our area, is just so prevalent now," Midland's Spokesperson Patty Tuttle said. "We want to raise the awareness and hopefully push for anti-gun violence laws, common-sense laws that will help Americans stay safer."

Tuttle says they would like to see laws that require background checks for gun owners and the sale provision known as the "Charleston loophole", which allows buyers to purchase a gun without a background check, if the screening process takes more than three days, closed.

Until then, the ability to raise awareness and have their voices heard means all the difference for people like McKelvin. 

"It just fills my heart just to see them chanting it," McKelvin said,"'Stop the violence; increase the peace.' We have to come together because gun violence is real and it hurts every day."

Wear Orange 2019
Dozens marched for gun violence awareness in Richland County Saturday.
Kayland Hagwood

There have been about 25 deaths by gun violence in the area this year, according to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.