Tactics Used by savvy #Never Again activists in Parkland, Florida

Please add and correct tactics used in Never Again to add to my book draft Resist! Goals and Tactics for Changemakers. I’m happy to share chapters of interest. Gkimball at csuchico dot edu

Never Again Tactics After the Parkland School Shooting

First Draft Gayle Kimball, gkimball@csuchico.edu

After the Valentine’s Day school shooter killed 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, students leaped into action—unlike previous school shootings such as the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. Within a week the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students announced a national march in Washington, D.C. to be held on March 24, organized hundreds of students to meet with state legislators, raised millions of dollars on GoFundMe, designed T-shirts, organized a Facebook and other social media pages, wrote op-eds for newspapers such as the New York Times, appeared on TV news shows on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and Bill Maher’s’ HBO show, etc. They worked with CNN to organize a televised town hall including their Senators, a sheriff, and a representative of the NRA. Some met with President Trump in the White House where he proposed arming teachers to make schools “harder,” a response met with derision.

The Never Again movement put the powerful NRA on the defensive, as its head Wayne LaPierre resorting to scare their supporters with fears that Democrats would “European socialism” if elected in 2018 and beyond. It appears that many of the student leaders are in Advanced Placement classes and debate clubs where they studied gun control issues and the school newspaper the Eagle Eye wrote about mental health issues.

What tactics did these teenagers use to make so much happen so fast?

 

Print and Social Media

Video: Wednesday, February 14: David Hogg videotaped student reactions as the shooting occurred, from inside a locked school office during the shooting.

 

TV News shows: CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. CNN Town Hall with Florida Senators, the sheriff, and an NRA spokeswoman. Cameron Kasky asked Senator Rubio, “Can you tell me right now you won’t accept money from the NRA?” when Rubio didn’t make the pledge, Kasky suggested that people not fund his next election campaign. David Hogg spoke on the Dr. Phil show and he and Kasky were on Bill Maher’s HBO show. Kasky told the Rachel Madow show, “A week ago I was a student, in three musicals trying to keep my lines together. Instead of falling down, we rose up. We will be leading in the future. This is going to be the last school shooting.” Realizing they needed a lynchpin, a name, sitting in his ghost buster pajamas he thought of “Never Again.”

On Bill Maher’s show on March 2, Kasky said politicians work for us but “you guys suck at your job.” This is about protecting kids and everyone is or was a child. We don’t respect people unless they deserve it. We have voices and we will use them. A lot of people are trying to take us down. Let us rebuild the world you adults f—ed up.” Hogg said, “We’ll go after the money.” (He said the White House called the day before the listening session with the president but they wanted him to attend the town hall in Tallahassee.)

 

Newspapers: Op-ed in the New York Times by 14-year old Christine Yared

“If you have any heart, or care about anyone or anything, you need to be an advocate for change. Don’t let any more children suffer like we have. Don’t continue this cycle. This may not seem relevant to you. But next time it could be your family, your friends, your neighbors. Next time, it could be you.

Carson Abt, a junior at Douglas High, op-ed in The New York Times, February 26, quoted Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” My teachers are the light.

 

Social Media: Never Again Facebook and other social media pages, the title coined by Cameron Kashy as he was in his ghost-busters pajamas. He said, “We need to take it into our own hands” since politicians haven’t addressed gun control. Twitter was used to prod politicians with 1,500 tweets in a short time after the shooting. Stop the silence about gun violence and join us by sharing your own stories and photos with the #MeNext? hashtag.

3-27 Facebook post: Boy, have we been incredibly busy. We have made so many strides in the last couple of days. Our platform has spread to millions of people, we have raised over 5 million dollars for the #MarchForOurLives, and a bunch of us spent the last few days in DC discussing legislation and plans of action with our representatives and senators.

 

Face-to-Face lobbying politicians, but students reported some Florida legislators tried to avoid them, weaseled out, after a labyrinth of secretaries and aids.

 

Personal stories of loss like Samuel Zeif’s painful account of the loss of his best friend during President Trump’s listening session in the White House with students and parents. Zeif said, “ I don’t know how I’m going to every step in that school again. I don’t understand why I can step in a store and buy a weapon of war. How is it that easy? Still no action after Columbine, Sandy Hook. In Australia there was a shooting in 1999 and they stopped it. Zero shootings. We need to do something. Let’s be strong for the fallen and let’s never let this happen again. Please please.”

Sandy Hook mom Nicole told the President there are solutions: support the school violence act, fund mental health, and mandate training program to know the signs of mental health problems. She co-founded the activist group Sandy Hook Promise. She flew to Parkland as soon as she heard about the shooting.

The week after the shooting President Trump said he was in favor in background checks for gun buyers and ordered the Attorney General to outlaw bump stocks that turn legal weapons into automatic weapons. He vacillated after meeting with an NRA lobbyist.

 

 

On the Street

February 15: candlelight vigil at Pine Trails Park, “No more guns”

 

February 16: School walk-out at nearby South Broward High School, organized by Amy Campbell-Oates, 16, and two friends. They chanted, “Your silence is killing us. Prayers and condolences are not enough.” “It could have been us,” Other students joined in around the country.

 

February 17: Rally at Fort Lauderdale’s federal courthouse, featuring Emma Gonzales “shame on you” talk, written on the back of her AP Government notes. She said, “The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call B.S. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent his, we call B.S. We’re going to be the kids you read about in textbooks because we’re the last mass shooting.” She wondered how much Trump had received from the NRA. She told a reporter, “We students figured our there’s strength in numbers.” A video of her speech was quickly viewed more than 100,00 times. Other speakers were Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin.

 

Demonstration at the Miami gun show

 

February 19: lie-in at the gates of the White House by 17 young people from the area, sponsored by Teens for Gun Reform. They read the names of the slain students and teacher. “We’re not going to back down, no matter what, until this country changes.” They chanted, “Enough is Enough.”

Demonstration in front of the NRA headquarters in Virginia

 

February 20: Student bused to the state capital in Tallahassee to lobby the legislature, which simultaneously voted down regulation of assault rifles. Their signs said Enough! Jaclyn Corin @JaclynCorin junior class president organized the trip, working with state senator Lauren Book. Groups of ten meet with various legislators.

About 3,000 students, parents, and teachers rallied in Tallahassee. “Never again!” Vote them out! Other protesters outside the capital building joined them. Signs said “NRA Bribes,” “Student Lives,” “Help.” They shouted, “Be ashamed,” “Vote them out,” and “Not one more.” “You work for us.” “Students united, will never be defeated.” “Protect Kids.” “Stop killing the future.”

 

Students Around the US Rally

West Boca Raton High a thousand students walked the 12 miles to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

 

Children’s rights are more important than the right to bear arms.

Minneapolis walked out to the city hall, Washington DC, lie in in front of White House, Gilbert AZ, Pittsburgh, Stanford, NJ Bellingham WA, Students walked out in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and all over Florida. “This is not difficult. There are things you can do now.” Governor Scott said he would prepare a package of reforms by Friday i.e., riffles 3 day waiting period, any of thee proposals would have been unthinkable. A testing ground for the ARA.

In San Francisco Bishop O’Dowd High School demonstrators said:

Girl, 16: we will not die down, we will not be quiet, we’re only get louder

Boy, 14: we will fight

16, You’ll be unemployed come Nov.

Girl, if I live to be 25 you’ll be voting me into office.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Bay-Area-student-organizers-are-in-vanguard-in-12704835.php?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=newsletter&utm_campaign=sfc_morningreport

 

On Friday, February 16, just two days after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Florida, 16-year-old Violet Massie-Vereken led a student walkout from her high school (Pelham Memorial in New York) to protest the inaction of lawmakers at every level of government on gun control legislation. Standing in front of the school, she held her self-made sign carrying the words, #MeNext. She then created a #MeNext Facebook page, asking all students in the US who agree to post photos of themselves holding their own signs with the words #menext. Thousands of photos poured in, and the page has received over 10,000 likes. “This is only the beginning,” Violet says. “Change is coming!”

 

Allies: Other groups Join in

Cameron Kasky created a go fund me on February 18 to raise funds for the march and later organizing. Over 25,000 donations and over two million dollars was raised in three days, with $500,000 each started by Clooney, matched Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, and Steven Spielberg. Cher, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber also donated.

The advocacy group Moms Demand Action formed a student advocacy group.

 

The Network for Public Education and the American Federation of Teachers called for a walk-out, sit-ins, and other protests on youth@womensmarch.com.

The Parkland students were joined in the Tallahassee rally on Feb. 21 by the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and the League of Women Voters of Florida.

On the April 20 anniversary of Columbine shooting another nationwide walkout was planned by Connecticut high school student Lane Murdock. She said she was “unhappy” with the nation’s reaction to the Parkland shootings, so she started an online petition for a national student movement. Her petition, which had garnered more than 45,000 signatures by Sunday night, asks students to “walk out of school, wear orange and protest online and in your communities,” adding: “Nothing has changed since Columbine, let us start a movement that lets the government know the time for change is now.” Murdock lives just 20 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Women’s March Youth Empower group called for a 17-minute walkout at 10 am on March 14, wearing orange. https://www.womensmarch.com/empower/

Women’s March EMPOWER is a “coalition of organizations dedicated to supporting young people in social activism.”

 

North East governors formed a regional coalition, sharing research, databases on mental health, arrests. Governor Como said no laws and no funding needed.

Governor Andrew Como the bar is set slow like raising age to 21, bump stocks,

Mis-define the problem as school shootings when they happen in lots of places

 

Some school districts threatened to punish students who walked out, but colleges made statements that activism would be a plus in applications rather than a negative. Emma Gonzales referred to the 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines that said students as “persons” have freedom of speech, they don’t “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” in reference to protests against the Vietnam war.

 

In less than three days, 16 major corporations broke their ties to the NRA. United Airlines. Delta. Enterprise Rent-a-Car. MetLife Insurance. North American Van Lines. Simplisafe Home Security. They canceled their deals with the NRA.

 

Slogans

Enough

Your Silence is killing us

Protect our children

Never again

Vote them out

Do something now

Don’t let my friends die

Guns don’t kill people….umm yes they do

My friends died for what?

Don’t Let My Classmates’ Deaths Be in Vain”

 

T-shirts with the locations of mass shootings, Douglas Strong, Parkland United,

 

Quotes

Sarah: Prayers won’t fix this, but gun control will prevent it from happening again. She also tweeted that Trump was f…….piece of s…”

 

Cameron Kasky: We’re going to lead the rest of the nation behind us. This time we’re going to pressure the politicians to take action. This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t’ about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected. At this point, you’re either with us or you’re against us.

 

Kevin: we want everyone to know we want change, looking for bipartisan solutions, this isn’t about banning assault weapons or partisan changes, we’re looking for bipartisan solutions, we can’t use partisan tactics so that the right thinks we’re crazy partisans.

 

Adam Alhanti, if students need to rally together as a school and across the nation and back us, we really want to make a change. I want to see our politicians listening and I don’t’ think they are. It’s not a mental health issue but a gun control issue. The president is coming first, not the people. Stop playing golf, look us in the eye and say he’ll make a difference.

 

I think the best way to deal with the President’s tweets is to ignore them. He’s trying to blame the FBI, but we can’t let him do that.

 

“We can’t be silenced because we know so much” I don’t think we’ll get the full change we want until we’re in those positions. They don’t understand what’s going on in our world. Jaileen Kennedy, senior class president, Coral

 

Emma Gonzalez, a 19-year-old survivor of the Florida high school shooting, condemned politicians for their failure to crack down on gun control in a now-viral speech. “When adults tell me I have the right to own a gun,” she said at an anti-gun rally on Saturday, “all I can hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student’s right to live.” Gonzalez also took President Donald Trump to task for accepting $30 million in support from the N.R.A. during his 2016 election campaign. “If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers,” she said, “then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”

In an interview by the New York Times she said, “This is my whole world now…I cannot allow myself to stop talking about this.” She added: “Everybody needs to understand how we feel and what we went through, because if they don’t, they’re not going to be able to understand why we’re fighting for what we’re fighting for.”\

 

Ryan Deitsch said at a press conference in Talahasse, “For the longest time, I only perceived Douglas as just a school of entitled children and those who Juul [an e-cigarette]. Now I’m left seeing that these are powerful speakers.” The legislators use “political double talk.”

 

Backlash

Al-right groups accused leaders like David Hogg of being “crisis actors” and being coached by Democrats as tools. Facebook and Google’s YouTube promised to take down the false conspiracy charges. A Douglas teacher, Jim Gard, started a MoveOn.org petition to ask that an offending media outlet Gateway Pundit not be given White House press credentials.

 

Results

Companies dropped their connection with the ARA. As pressure mounted across various social media platforms on Friday, a number of corporations, including several car-rental companies, MetLife insurance, Symantec security software and the car pricing and information site TrueCar, abruptly announced plans to cut ties with the organization. Delta Airlines was punished by the Georgia legislature with rescinding tax breaks.

 

Legislators proposed gun control legislation. Oregon quickly passed a proposed bill to close the intimate partner loophole to take away guns from people who have a restraining order. Governor Kate Brown said Parkland moved it along much more quickly, “Youth held the decision makers feet to the fire. They are giving the rest of the nation hope that we can change this.”

Trump focused on arming teachers and said the ARA is his friend.

NRA member Florida Governor Rick Scott proposed a comprehensive half a billion dollar plan to keep schools safe, including keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, providing more services for mentally ill people including more school counselors, raise the age to 21, and ban bump stocks, law enforcement officers for every 1,000 students in public schools, installing hardware like metal detectors, steel doors and upgraded locks, bulletproof glass.

 

Pressure on Twitter and Facebook contributed to the fact that in less than 24 hours, at least eight companies that had offered N.R.A. members discounts or special deals announced plans to separate or end affiliations with the organization, including Hertz, Enterprise and Avis Budget; SimpliSafe, which gave N.R.A. members two months of free home security monitoring; and North American and Allied Van Lines. The NRA accused the companies of cowardice.

On Twitter, the hashtag #stopNRAmazon was a rallying cry aimed at pressuring Amazon to stop streaming content from NRATV, the gun group’s online video channel.

Sales of bulletproof backpacks went up

Why is this the generation to speak out?

Jean Twenge said they are risk-averse due to growing up with helicopter parents, anti-bullying campaigns, less likely to get into physical fights, car accidents than a decade ago, rates of teen binge drinking fell by half since 2000. Less likely to have a drivers’ license, have sex, drink alcohol, date. David Hogg, “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action.” They’re also highly individualistic, more supportive of same-sex marriage and legalized pot than previous generations at the same age. Lean toward libertarianism.

Jean Twenge, “Why this Generation of Teens is More Likely to Care About Gun Violence,” The Conversation, February 22, 2018.

 

2016, Centers for Disease Control prevented that cigarette smoking among high school students was at its lowest level in 24 years. Not part of the opioid epidemic. Binge drinking down, soda consumption. CDC sexually active during the past three months dropped from 38% in 1991 to 30% in 2015.

Except for Juul, e-cigarette

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