The high school student mass shooting survivors from Parkland, Florida are showing us who we need to be. They are angry, grieving and traumatized and have immediately channeled those emotions into a national call to action that has had more impact in two weeks than most movements see in years.
They have held the mainstream media’s fleeting attention on gun control for weeks. Dozens of companies that once offered discounts to NRA members have ended those programs. After the rally Parkland students organized in Tallahassee, the GOP-controlled Florida legislature is actually considering gun control measures that would never have been entertained before. They have even pushed Trump to order a crackdown on bump stocks and propose more thorough background checks. Even Betsy DeVos is calling for Congressional hearings.
Of course, these teenagers have already become targets of extreme right-wing groups and media outlets, including the NRA, but they are laser focused and have had no problem calling out every hypocrite and shutting down every troll touting talking NRA points. This is just the beginning of course, but it’s powerful and hopeful. Parkland students’ success may be partly a combination of their whiteness and affluence and the final straw for Americans exhausted by years of nearly constant mass shootings…but these kids are also naturally savvy activists fighting for their lives.
They have barely finished burying their friends, but they are organizing school walkouts and a major rally in DC, establishing a strong social media presence, giving moving speeches, writing OpEds for major publications, and speaking concisely and plainly to the media to make their points. They have said over and over that they do not want the deaths of their 17 classmates to mean nothing.
So, today’s activism comes directly from the Parkland student activists who have outlined the ways people can support them and the Parkland community in the wake of this tragedy.
Mark your calendars to stand with young people at the March for Our Lives in DC, or the sister rallies around the country, on Saturday, March 24th. Go to MarchforOurLives.com for details and to donate to support the national organizing efforts.
The movement’s hashtag may be “Never Again,” but the student organizers have also explicitly said that this is not just a social media campaign. They want to move everyone, especially young people, to “vote for our lives” in the 2018 mid term elections….and that requires making sure students who are turning 18 this year are registered to vote. They ask that you write and call your members of congress about gun control, make sure you are registered to vote, help get others registered to vote, and, of course, actually go vote in the midterm elections to stop NRA-backed politicians.
Additionally, many companies and banks have been called out in the press as having ties to the NRA or world of guns and ammunition producers and the students are calling for divestment and boycotts. You can help push the movement further by putting pressure on those institutions and withholding your business until they make changes.
The students have also asked that you consider supporting the Victims Fund, the fund for their upcoming Benefit Concert, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Journalism Program.
So, if striking while the iron is hot to demand the gun regulation we so obviously need is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Standing with the Students Demand Real Gun Control via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Donate to support the organizing efforts for the marches nationwide
Call and write your members of congress about gun control and VOTE!
The Parkland Students Aren't Going Away (The Atlantic)
How the Survivors of Parkland Began the Never Again Movement (The New Yorker)
Key Gun Violence Statistics (The Brady Campaign)
The NRA is being supported by these companies (Think Progress)
These are the banks financing the assault weapons industry (Think Progress)
Posted February 27, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1167: The kids are alright and they are leading the way again (Parkland Shooting)