Never Again Gun Control Movement: Summary of “Glimmer of Hope” tactics and goals

In their anthology titled Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement by the Founders of March for Our Lives (2018), 16 leaders of the Never Again movement for gun control described their tactics and goals. All but one are present or recent graduates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting on Valentine’s Day in 2018. Their main focus is on getting young people to register to vote and to actually vote as they think voting is the key to making political change. They toured 22 states in the summer to get out the vote and then concentrated on college campuses. They don’t have faith in existing legislators who they believe are corrupt and in bondage to their large contributors of campaign funding such as the National Rifle Association. They warned “all the politicians out there, if you take money from the NRA, you have chosen death.”[1] They judged the legislators they lobbied in Florida and in Congress to be uninformed, not interested in listening to young people without a lot of money, “almost untouchable,” dismissive, concerned only about getting photo ops to help their next campaign.[2] They tend to view adults in general as failures who created a broken system. They require any adult who assists them to have a youth point person to make sure their message isn’t diluted.

The students are confident that their generation is uniquely positioned to lead revolutionary change because of the information they gain from the Internet plus their skills using social media, which they believe is the key to outreach. Some of them, like Charlie Mirsky, Cameron Kasky, and David Hogg grew up interested in politics, sparked by listen to TV comedians who discuss the news such as Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. Kasky said, “I grew up consuming political media like it was candy,” formerly a “rebel without a cause.” [3] Growing up with superheroes and Harry Potter, Delaney Tarr said they find themselves “wanting to be these powerhouse, these superheroes who come in and just save the day.”[4] Cameron Kasky greeting the millions of people in the march on Washington with “Welcome to the revolution.” He said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got this.” They have “an incredibly powerful tool: an outlet to millions of people all over the world at our fingertips.”[5] Matt Deitsch promised, “The youth will fix this great nation and truly lead us to a more compassionate future. We can only do this together and with love.”[6] They also acknowledge previous youth activists such as the civil rights era Freedom Riders.

Their worldview emphasizes intersectionality, the importance of including diversity, as in their outreach to African American youth activists in Chicago, Washington, DC, etc. They don’t have to go through a third party but can communicate directly with their networks. Jammal Lemy designed “merch” such as T-shirts and hats with a QR (quick response code) barcode to scan to register to vote. He believes that “art is the most effective media to convey messages.”[7] They’re also unique in the youth of activists such as Naomi Wadlin, an eighth grader who led a school walk-out in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 14 or Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke at the Washington, DC march when she was age nine.

Specific tactics they articulated are individuals need a specific task or they won’t do anything and it’s vital to move beyond anger (and fear generated by frequent threats and harassment) to find joy and love in organizing. They think of their core group of 25 activists as a supportive family that helped them build on their grief at the loss of their friends to build a social movement. (Therapy dogs provided at school also helped them cope.) Emotion is important as “This is a movement relying on the persistence and passion of its people.”[8] They often quote Matt Deitch who urges that “leaders create leaders,” typical of recent organizing that is wary of dominant leaders. They emphasize being nonpartisan to shape an inclusive message as negative forces “will try to separate us by demographics…by religion, race, congressional district and class. They will fail. We will come together.”[9]

[1] The founders. Glimmer of Hope. Penguin, 2018, p.. 175

[2] P. 99

[3] P. 6

[4] P. 97

[5] P. 39

[6] P. 208

[7] P. 198

[8] P. 163

[9] P. 152

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