Category Archives: media

B. Obama’s Africa Reading List

Obama, 7-13-18

This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

The Return by Hisham Matar
A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.

 

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Films About Young People by Country

Films About Young People

Afghanistan

Osama. About a 12-year-old girl whose widowed mother disguises her as a boy so they can go outside—based on a true story, the first Afghan film after the fall of the Taliban. 2003

Kandahar. About an Afghani girl who grows up in Canada, but returns to Afghanistan to find her sister under the Taliban regime. 2001

Kite Runner: Takes place in Afghanistan in the 1970s, about a Pashtun boy and underclass Hazara boy. 2007

Buzhashi Boys. Short film about two 14-year-old friends in Kabul who struggle to survive in the context of the national sport of a kind of horse polo. 2012

Argentina

Valentin. Features an 8-year-old boy who lives with his grandmother, who dies. He makes friends with helpful adults. 2004

Australia

December Boys. About four orphans in the 1960s on a holiday at the beach. 2007

Rabbit-Proof Fence. True story about three indigenous girls (ages 8-14) who are kidnapped and taken to a missionary school in the 1930s because they are half white, and escape to travel hundreds of miles on foot with no food, water or map to get back home. The girls had no previous experience as actors. 2002

Mary & Max. A Claymation feature film about a pen-friendship between Mary, a chubby lonely eight-year-old girl living in Melbourne, and Max Horovitz, a 44-year-old, obese man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in New York. 2009

My Year Without Sex. A couple with two young children deal with consumer pressures to be sexy and sexual and struggle to stay in the middle class after the wife suffers a brain aneurysm. Her doctor tells her not to have sex for a year. 2008

Brazil

City of God shows crime life in a favela/slum in Rio. 2002

Bus 174: A documentary about a former street kid who hijacks a city bus in Rio. 2003

Caminho das Nuvens: The Middle of the World. A poor, illiterate family ride their bikes 2,000 miles to Rio de Janeiro to look for work. The teen-age son leaves the family to work as a bricklayer. 2003

Favela Rising. A former drug-dealer uses hip-hop music and Afro-Brazilian dance for social change for youth. 2005

City of Men. About two 18-year-old boys who grew up in the slums. 2007

Only When I Dance. 18-year-old Irlan succeeds as a ballet dancer, stating, “My greatest desire is to give my parents a better life.” Isabela, 17, struggles less successfully to leave slum life behind. Her dark skin keeps her from being accepted in a Brazilian dance company. 2009

Canada

Map of the Human Heart. About an Eskimo boy Avik, nicknamed Holy Boy, by a New Zealand filmmaker. It shows his corruption by Western culture. 1993

Saint Ralph. A teen boy’s father dies and his mother is in a coma in the 1950s. He wants to perform a miracle for her by winning a marathon race. 2004

Whole New Thing. Emerson, a brillian 13-year old boy, has been home-schooled in rural Nova Scotia. His parents send him to middle school for help with math. He develops a crush on his male English teacher. He doesn’t like labels, says he’s not gay, but sends his teacher a love sonnet. 2005

Monsieur Lazhar. An Algerian immigrant takes over as a teacher in a middle school in Montreal after the previous teacher committed suicide. 2012.

Chile

Machuca. The film takes place in 1973, when the first socialist president democratically elected in a Latin-American country, President Salvador Allende is murdered. The story is about an upper-class boy who meets a lower-class boy when their Catholic school is integrated. Their friendship is torn apart by the military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. 2004

China

The Road Home. An 18-year-old girl in a mountain village falls in love with the new 20-year-old schoolteacher. There’s no kissing in this love story, just lots of eye contact and cooking food for him. 1999

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.  During the Cultural Revolution, two intellectual city boys are sent to the countryside. We see the impact of the country on them, and vice versa, especially the young seamstress who falls in love with reading the books they secretly brought with them. 2005

Stolen Life. This film shows the class system where city people look down on rural peasants. A freshman university student is corrupted by a scheming boyfriend. 2005

Mao’s Last Dancer: An Australian film about a peasant boy—the sixth son in his family—who is raised during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, training in Beijing to be a ballet dancer. The film is based on his autobiography, with flash backs from his rural boyhood to dancing in Texas. 2009

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. About the friendship of two women in present day Shanghai and two close women friends in the 19th century, played by the same actresses. The historical friends were bound in a Laotong agreement of sisterly love and wrote to each other in a secret language. Filmed in China, but produced by Chinese Americans. 2011

Czechoslovakia

Kolya. A five-year-old Russian boy is cared for by a Czech bachelor during the Russian occupation in the 1980s. 1996

Eritria (East Africa)

Heart of Fire. Supposedly based on a true story about an Eritrean child-soldier, played by a 10-year-old actual refugee. 2008

France

Au Revoir Les Enfants. Tells the story of three Jewish boys who are taken from their school by the Nazis in 1944. 1987

Poinette. A girl who goes to live with her aunt and cousins when her mother dies. 1996.

To Be and to Have. A documentary about a dedicated teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in a rural French village. 2003

Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink). A 7-year-old boy likes to dress up in girls’ clothing. 1997

400 Blows. Francois Truffaut’s film takes place in a cruel boarding school. The young adolescent boy descends into petty crime. 1959

Amelie. An introverted young women works in a Paris cafe and tries to help others. 2001

Blame it on Fidel. Anna is a 9-year-old girl in Paris in 1970. She has to cope with many changes when her parents become radical activists. 2006

The Fox and the Child. A 10-year-old girl explores nature in the mountains of Southern France. She is very brave, scaring away a wolf pack, an eagle, and a bear in her defense of a fox she gradually tames. The narration is in English. 2007

A Ma Soeur! Portrays the relationship between two sisters; 15-year-old Elena isn’t kind to her overweight 12-year-old sister Anais. 2001

The Kid with a Bike. An 11-year-old boy is abandoned by his father and finds a kind hairdresser to care for him. 2011

Hugo is set in 1930s Paris, about an orphaned boy who lives in a train station. 2011, US film.

Blue is the Warmest Color. A high school girl’s life expands when she meets a blue-haired lesbian a few years older. 2013

Germany

Beyond Silence. A girl raised by deaf-mute parents develops a love of playing clarinet. 1996

Run, Lola, Run. A girl helps her boyfriend raise money he has lost, with three different scenarios. 1998.

Goodbye Lenin. This takes place before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in East Berlin, 1989-1990. 2003

India (includes non-Indian films about Indians)

Dil Chahta Hai. Three recent college graduates (played by actors in their 30s) explore their friendship and their beliefs about romantic love. They live with their wealthy families in Mumbai. They settle down with their female partners in the end.

Bend it Like Beckham. A 18-year-old Punjabi Sheik girl is a good soccer player, but her parents don’t think its proper for an Indian girl to run around in shorts, even though they live in London, but she persists. 2002

Born in Brothels. This film follows the stories of several children growing up in the red-light district of Calcutta, and the impact made on them when they are given cameras to record their daily lives. 2004

Water. About exploitation of child widows abandoned by their families in India during the time of Gandhi in the 1930s. 2005

The same writer/director made Fire (1996) and Earth (1998). A book describing the challenges of making Water in religious India is titled Shooting Water and was written by the director’s daughter.

Slumdog Millionaire. A slum boy ends up on a quiz show. 2008

Like Stars on Earth. A Mumbai family lives the modern dream with a successful businessman and a stay-at-home wife who gave up her career to care for her two sons. They don’t realize their youngest son is failing in school because he is dyslexic and send him off to boarding school where his art teacher names his learning disability. 2007

Namesake. After an arranged marriage in Calcutta, the couple comes to New York for his work. The film is about their two children’s attempts to integrate Indian and American culture. 2007

Outsourced. An unexceptional American film about an American man who is sent to manage Indian workers in a call center near Mumbai. He learns about the importance of time with family and other Indian traditions. 2006

Life of Pi. A popular film about a teenage Indian boy who survives being shipwrecked in a boat with a tiger. The first-time actor who plays Pi was 17-year-old Suraj Sharma from New Delhi. It explores the idea that there are multiple ways to look at philosophical questions and religion. 2012

Iran

Children of Heaven. Brother Ali loses his sister Zahra’s school shoes and the children try to figure out how to share shoes so they can both go to school. Farsi language. 1997

Ten. About a woman taxi driver in Tehran and her conversation with her passengers, including her son who is upset over his parents’ divorce. It reveals women’s issues as the boy is the only male in the film. 2002

Leila. A modern young couple in Tehran face traditional pressures when she finds out she can’t conceive a baby, so they find a second wife for him. 2000

The Color of Paradise. An 8-year-old blind boy is raised by his grandmother after his father rejects him. 2000

Offside. Girls try to disguise themselves as boys so they can sneak into a soccer stadium, but they’re caught. 2007

Iraq

Turtles Can Fly: After the fall of Saddam Hussein, a brother and sister and other Kurdish orphans make money by digging up live mines and selling them. They are often are missing limbs due to exploding bombs. Very sad, also about the rape and pregnancy of a young girl. 2004

Israel

Unsettled. It tells the story of the eviction of young Israelis and their families from the Gaza Strip at the end of the almost 40-year Israeli occupation and return to the Palestinians. 2007

Five Broken Cameras. Mostly filmed by a West Bank farmer about the encroachment of Israeli settlements and the impact on his family. 2012

The documentary Jerusalem follows three teen girls in Jerusalem who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim. 2013

Japan

Nobody Knows. Four abandoned kids, ages 5 to 12. make it on their own in a small apartment in Tokyo. The 12-year-old older brother takes over as head of the family. 2004

Honey and Clover. It portrays the relationships of five Hama art college students. 2006

I Wish. Two young brothers live apart with their divorced mother or father and try to get them back together. 2012

Jordan

Captain Abu Raed is about a janitor who tries to enliven the difficult lives of the children in his neighborhood with imaginative travel stories. 2008

Kenya

Nairobi Half Life. A young aspiring actor, Mwas, migrates from a village in rural Kenya to Nairobi and is exposed to slum life and gang crime. (2102)

South Korea

A Tale of Two Sisters. Two sisters go to live with their father and mean stepmother. 2005

In Between Days is about a young girl from South Korea and her lonely coming of age in Canada. 2006

Comrade Kim Goes Flying. A young female coal miner in North Korea wants to be an acrobat and succeeds. Europeans helped make the film. 2012

Lebanon

Where Do We go Now? Christian and Muslim women work together for peace in their village. 2011

Mexico

The Zone. A walled compound of wealthy families in Mexico City is broken into by three teenage boys who try to steal from one of the homes. One of slum boys, Miguel, hides out and is befriended by another teen who lives in the compound, Alejandro. The film shows the gap between rich and poor, how the police can be bribed and how the rich take justice into their own hands. It’s violent. 2007

Which Way Home. A documentary about children riding freight trains to reunite with their families in the US. In Spanish, by American filmmakers. The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants from Honduras and El Salvador. 2009

Mongolia

Mongolian Ping Pong. Boys find a ping-pong ball in a creek and think it has magical special powers. 2005

The Cave of the Yellow Dog. A girl finds a puppy but her father won’t let her keep it. 2005

The Story of the Weeping Camel. A family of nomadic shepherds raises a white camel calf. 2004

The Eagle Huntress. A documentary about the first girl in Monglolia to become an eagle hunger. (It includes a study guide.[i]) 2016

New Zealand

Whale Rider, the Whangara Maori people believe their savior ancestor rode home on the back of a whale and that leadership goes to first-born males believed to be his ancestor. A young girl, Pai, challenges this tradition. 2002

Nigeria

Emmanuelle’s Gift, the true story of a teenager who bicycled all over Nigeria with only one leg to raise funds and awareness/rights for the disabled in that country, who generally had no rights and no income. 2005

Monday’s Girls. About modern vs. traditional reaction to a young women’s initiation ceremony. 1993

War Dance. Children in a refugee camp in northern Uganda compete in their country’s national music and dance festival. 2007

Palestine

Paradise Now is about two Palestinian men who are best friends preparing for a suicide attack in Israel. 2005

Romania

4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days takes place in the late 1980s before the fall of Communism when abortion was illegal. Two university students try to arrange for an abortion when one of them gets pregnant. 2007

Saudi Arabia

Wadjda. The first Saudi film by a woman filmmaker, in which a 10-year-old girl lives in Riyadh with her young mother who struggles with her absenteeism husband who is looking for a second wife to give him a son. Wadjda wants to buy a bicycle to race a neighborhood boy, hoping to win her school’s Quran recitation competition to win the cash prize. She gets in trouble at her school for her independence. 2012 (A clip is available.)[ii]

South Africa

Yesterday. An illiterate Zulu farmwoman, whose husband works in the mines in Johannesburg, learns she had AIDS. She is determined to stay alive until her daughter starts school. Shows village life. 2004

Beat the Drum is about orphans who live on the streets of Johannesburg. 2002

Skin. The film documents the life of a girl with darker skin and curly hair born to white parents during apartheid in the 1960s. The authorities want to classify her as “colored” even though her parents are white. 2002

Spain

Butterfly. A boy starts school in the 1930s. His life is disrupted by the fascist takeover of government. 1982

Carol’s Journey. A12-year-old moves from New York to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Her mother is dying and her father is fighting with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  She resists fascism. 2002

Sudan

God Grew Tired of Us. Documentary about three of the lost boys of Sudan who walked for five years to escape war and ended up in the US. 2006

Lost Boys of Sudan. A documentary about two orphaned young boys to who make it to the US. 2004.

Sweden

My Life as a Dog. A troubled boy who is upset about the loss of a parent pretends he is a dog. 1985

Fanny and Alexander.  In the early 1900s, a brother and sister’s father dies and their mother remarries a stern stepfather. 1982

Simple Simon is a comedy about 18 year old with Asperger syndrome, who is cared for by his brother and his girlfriend. 2010.

Taiwan

Yi Yi: A One and a Two. Shows the issues facing an urban middle-class family in Taipei. The family includes dual-career parents, a teen daughter and a boy, aged 8. 2006

Turkey

Bliss. This tells the story of an ex-commando who is ordered by his family to kill his 17-year-old cousin, an “honor killing,” because she was raped and “tainted.” It contrasts the differences between rural and urban lifestyles and shows the girl’s increasing strength in standing up for herself. 2007

United Kingdom

To Sir, With Love. Sidney Poiter plays a black teacher who gives up an engineering job to work with poor white students in an inner-city school in London. 1967

Millions. An 8-year-old Irish boy finds a suitcase full of money. 2005

Billy Elliott. A coal miner’s son, aged 11, loves ballet and starts studying in secret to be a dancer.  The film is set in 1984. 2000

About a Boy. A 12-year-old boy has a depressed single mother and becomes attached to a self-centered bachelor who gradually matures. 2002

The Girl in the Café. A young woman becomes friends with a British civil servant and accompanies him to the G-8 summit, where she becomes obsessed with the plight of children all over the world who are dying for preventable reasons. She keeps interrupting their formal G-8 social events to confront them about their refusal to take action. Includes information about child poverty. 2005

I Capture the Castle. Teenage sisters grow up in the 1930s an eccentric and impoverished English family. Their dad is a famous writer who has writer’s block. 2003

Driving Lesson, 2006. A 17-year-old British boy learns to stand up for himself, with the help of an older woman. It’s a difficult time for him as his parents quarrel and break up.

Princess Kailuani, 2010. The story of a young Hawaiian princess’ fight against the annexation of Hawaii by the US in the late 19th century. She said, “Today, I, a poor weak girl with not one of my people with me and all these ‘Hawaiian’ statesmen against me, have strength to stand up for the rights of my people.”

Submarine. About a Welch boy named Oliver and his relationship with classmate Jordana in the 1980s. 2011

United States

Pump up the Volume. A high school student starts an FM pirate radio station in Phoenix. 1990

Almost Famous. A teenage boy writes for Rolling Stone magazine covering a rock band in 1973. 2000

Bully. A documentary about youth bullying and social media. It follows five young people and their families over a year. The film “offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children.” 2012.

Harold and Maude tells the story of Harold, a wealthy teenager and his friendship with Maude, age 79, as they attend funerals together. 1971

Bruno. An 8-year-old boy has a dream about an angel and concludes that, like angels, he should wear dresses, which he calls holy vestments, even in spelling bees. There’s lots of resistance from the nuns at his Catholic school and from his police officer father, but his mother and grandmother back him up and he wins the national bee. 2000

Freedom Writers. A true story, it answers the question, “What was so great about Anne Frank’s writing?”  The other theme is that seeing kids as whole people can turn the worst racist gang members into inspired creators. The kids and the teacher have started a foundation to spread her methods.

The Great Debaters. Based on a true story about a 1930s debate team at a black college in Texas. 2007

Quinceañera. A Mexican-American girl in Los Angeles prepares for her 15th birthday. 2007

Moonrise Kingdom. A 12-year-old boy and girl runaway to escape the unhappy adult world they see around them. It takes place in 1965 on a New England island. 2012

Remember the Titans. A black coach works with a Virginia high school football team of black and white players in 1971. 2000

School of Rock.  A rock singer forms a band with his fifth-grade students to compete in a contest. 2003

Little Women. Four sisters grow up Massachusetts during the time of the Civil War, while their father is fighting in the war. 1994

The Devil’s Playground.  A documentary about Amish youth who are brought up in a restricted environment (no education past 8th grade, no cars). When they’re 16 they’re turned loose to experience all the decadent delights the world has to offer, including drugs, sex, drinking, and cars. Then they have to decide if they want to give it all up and become Amish for the rest of their lives, or try to make it on their own (with no education and no family support of any kind) in the outside world. 2002

In America. An Irish immigrant family comes to live in a tenement in New York City, told from the point of view of the little girls. 2003

Liar, Liar. A little boy is disgusted by his lawyer father lying all the time, and makes a birthday wish that he has to tell the truth for 24 hours. It exposes the lies that are part of the adult world. 1997

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. A very intelligent 11-year-old boy who was inconclusively tested for Asperger’s Syndrome, is obsessive about trying to find a lock that will fit a key he found in his father’s closet after his father was killed in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Towers. 2011

The Boys of Baraka. A documentary about a school in Africa where delinquent black teenage boys from Baltimore are sent to help them get on track, and they do. The funding for the school is cut due to political upheaval.

Hanna. This action film is about a 14-year-old genetically bred to be a super warrior. Not only an outstanding warrior, she also has a super memory and knows many languages. She is a killer who wants to stop the killing as she travels from Finland to Morocco to Germany. The actress who played her is 18 and grew up in Ireland. 2011

Margaret. The story of a 17-year–old girl in New York City who struggles with the moral ramifications of having witnessed an accident. 2011.

Beasts of the Southern Wild. A six-year-old black girl lives ion an island in the Louisiana bayou with her alcoholic and sick father in poverty without electricity, both of them first-time actors. Her father refers to her as “man,” and teaches her to be a tough survivor. 2012

Uganda

War Dance. Ugandan schools compete in music competition. The focus is on kids from a refugee camp from the Acholi tribe. Some of the children were forced to be soldiers and some are orphans. 2006

Venezuela

Hermano. Two teenaged soccer players live in a Caracas slum, one of them is in a gang. 2012

Vietnam

Buffalo Boy. A 15-year-old buffalo herder deals with six-month floods during the rainy season in the 1940s. 2003

Owl and the Sparrow. A 10-year-old orphan girl lives on the streets of Saigon. American director, 2006

 

Global Voices is a collection of international documentaries, many of which focus on youth. Some can be viewed online or the WORLD TV channel. http://itvs.org/series/global-voices

 

This website lists free videos about girls internationally: http://dayofthegirlsummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DayoftheGirl-resourceguide.pdf

 

Other lists of films about global youth:

US films are listed in Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema. University of Texas Press, 2002.

Timothy Shary and Alexandra Seibel. Youth Culture in Global Cinema. University of Texas Press, 2006. They list over 700 international films.

The authors list themes about global youth films in Appendix B. They select these films as classics due to the fame of their stars and/or directors; Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel, Mexico, 1950), Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, U.S., 1955), Aparajito/The Unvanquished (Satyajit Ray, India, 1957), Les Quatre cents coups/The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, France, 1959), Ivanovo Detstvo/Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union, 1962), Walkabout (Nicholas Roeg, Australia, 1971), Diabolo menthe/Peppermint Soda (Diane Kurys, France, 1977), Mitt liv som hund/My Life as a Dog (Lasse Hallstrôm, Sweden, 1985), Au revoir les enfants/Goodbye Children (Louis Malle, France, 1987), and Europa Europa/Agnieszka (Holland, Poland, 1990).

 

[i] http://sonyclassics.com/theeaglehuntress/theeaglehuntress_studyguide.pdf

[ii] http://razor-film.de/en/projects/wadjda

Road to Change Gun Control by Never Again Students

June 15: March For Our Lives: Road to Change. Starting in a Peace March in Chicago, the students bused to 20 states and 75 cities to “get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote.” They pointed out that more than four million teens turned 18 in 2018 and Jaclyn Corin said in email, “We know there is no better way to bring about change than voting.” They described their effort as “a youth-led movement on a mission to elect morally-just leaders.” (The simultaneous Poor People’s Campaign also emphasizes the morality issue.) Tactically savvy, they partnered with Rock The Vote, Headcount, NAACP and Mi Familia Vota, They encouraged students to form intersectional activist clubs in their schools based on relationship building. They sponsored a petition that got hundreds of thousands of signatures, created merchandize to buy, and reached out to partner with gun violence prevention organizations.[i] “Price tags” calculated the amount of money that politicians accepted from the NRA, state by state, to be printed out and displayed. The campaign’s specific goals are to create “a searchable database for gun owners; funding the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence so that reform policies are backed up by data; and banning high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles.”

[i] https://marchforourlives.com/sign/

https://marchforourlives.com/local-action/

Tactics Used by Savvy Parkland Teens for Gun Control

Your additions welcomed.

Never Again Tactics After the Parkland School Shooting

Gayle Kimball, gkimball@csuchico.edu

About 30,000 American die each year due to the use of firearms in the most heavily armed nation on earth—the second biggest cause of children’s deaths (after auto accidents). After the Valentine’s Day school shooter killed 17 people at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, students leaped into saction—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 such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and Bill Maher’s’ HBO show. 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” by arming teachers, a response that met with derision. (In a meeting with legislators in the White House he joked that they were afraid of the NRA, probably in response to student reiteration of the theme. Then he met with an NRA lobbyist and backed down on gun control.)

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 institute “European socialism” if elected in 2018 and beyond. Many of the student leaders were in Advanced Placement classes and debate clubs where they studied gun control issues and some were journalists on the school newspaper the Eagle Eye, which wrote about mental health issues. their AP government class discussed the influence of special interest groups like the ARA. Jaclyn Corin wrote a 50-page paper on gun control last year.

The day after the shooting, after the candlelight vigil, Cameron Kasky invited friends including Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin to his house to start a movement. Kasky described himself as “a talker…. I never shut up. “They decided it should be nonpartisan and they stayed up all night creating social media. They posted #NeverAgain on Twitter. In response, CNN invited them to write an Op-Ed that led to TV interviews. They decided to petition for more thorough background checks. Within four days they had a plan for the March 24 march before the reporters left. Someone donated office space in a mall; their office contains boxes of T-shirts, whiteboards with conference call schedules, a wall map of the US with sibling marches and a space to shoot videos.

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.

 

TV News shows: During the CNN Town Hall with Florida Senators, the sheriff, and an NRA spokeswoman, sophomore 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 on March 2, where 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 to invite him to attend but they wanted Trump to attend the town hall in Tallahassee.)

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 on the toilet in his ghost buster pajamas he thought of “Never Again.” On the March 14 Lawrence O’Donnell show, Kasky said the March for Our Lives on March 24 would be amazing. He said to politicians who are corrupt, “You can’t run from us, we’re the people who will vote you out. You will feel it in the polls.” They outnumber the Millennials by nearly one million, have more than $30 billion in spending power, and many high school seniors would be 18 by the next elections.

 

Newspapers: In an Op-ed in the New York Times, 14-year old Christine Yared wrote, “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.” Junior Carson Abt’s Op-Ed in The New York Times on February 26, quoted Harry Potter’s 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.” The Potter series of books and films influenced the young readers and viewers to have confidence that smart kids could triumph against bad adults.

 

Social Media: “Social media is our weapon. Without it, the movement wouldn’t have spread this fast,” commented Jaclyn Corin. A small group of Parkland students stayed up late after the candlelight vigil to create social media pages. 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.” They also posted on Snapchat and Instagram. Their March 27 Facebook post stated: “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.” González joined Twitter after the shooting and got more than one million followers in less than ten days.

 

Face-to-Face lobbying with politicians in Talahasse and Washington, DC, but students reported some Florida legislators tried to avoid them, “weaseled out,” after facing a labyrinth of secretaries and aides. Jaclyn Corin, junior class president, talked to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and organized the demonstration at the capital. They brought boxes of petitions to Governor Rick Scott.

Three Parkland students went to Dubai, UAE, to speak at the Global Education and Skills Forum in March. They said more guns are not the answer, in rebuttal to President Trump’s push to arm teachers and other school staff.

The Never Again movement called for Congressional town halls in every district on April 7. If the member didn’t agree, opponents were asked to organize town halls. Indicating the reach of the movement, March for Our Lives took place in 390 of the country’s 435 congressional districts.

 

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 the week after the shooting. 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? There’s still no action after Columbine or 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.” The mother of a Sandy Hook child who was murdered in his classroom, helped start a prevention program called Sandy Hook Promise. Nicole Hocley told the President at the meeting that there are solutions: support the school violence act, fund mental health, and mandate training program to know the signs of mental health problems. She flew to Parkland as soon as she heard about the shooting.

 

On the Street

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

 

February 17: A rally at Fort Lauderdale’s federal courthouse featured 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. She explained, “I knew I would get my job done properly at that rally if I got people chanting something. And I thought ‘We call B.S.’ has four syllables, that’s good, I’ll use that. I didn’t want to say the actual curse words…this message doesn’t need to be thought of in a negative way at all.” Other speakers were organizers Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin.

 

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

 

February 20: Student bused to the state capital in Tallahassee to lobby the Florida legislature, which simultaneously voted down even considering regulation of assault rifles. Their signs said Enough! Jaclyn Corin, junior class president organized the trip, working with state senator Lauren Book. Groups of ten students meet with various legislators. About 3,000 students, parents, and teachers rallied in Tallahassee chanting “Never again!” “Not one more,” and “Vote them out!” They shouted, “You work for us, “Students united, will never be defeated,” “Protect Kids,” and “Stop killing the future.”

 

March 24: March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. was one of the largest marches ever (behind the women’s marches and March for Science). Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman of the Crowd Counting Consortium estimated that over 1.25 million Americans joined the March for Our Lives in 521 locations (and 27 internationally) with around 471,000 in Washington, DC. The Twitter account @AMarch4OurLives quickly attracted 242,000 followers. The marchers were 70% women, mostly college-educated, liberal, and middle-aged. David Kasky welcomed the marchers to the revolution and Bill De Blasio, about the 150,000 marches around the country, “You have to know when a revolution is starting.”

The Parkland students met with politicians like Speaker Ryan and Nancy Pelosi. Aware of their white privilege, the Parkland students met with peers in a mostly black high school. Hogg said, “There is a lot of racial disparity in the way that this is covered. If this happened in a place of lower socioeconomic status, or a …black community, no matter how well those people spoke, I don’t think the media would cover it the same.   We have to use our white privilege now to make sure that all of the voices that …all of the people that have died as a result of this and haven’t been covered the same can be heard.” They visited students in Chicago Public Schools and they invited Peace Warriors, a Chicago anti-violence group to Parkland to coordinate their efforts: Arieyanna Williams said, “We found our voice in Parkland. We didn’t really have it here.”

Hogg would like to have a youth demonstration every year on March 24.

April 20: a walkout to commemorate the Columbine Massacre high school shooting in 1999.

 

Students Around the US Rally

February 16: The school walk-out at nearby South Broward High School was 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 walk-outs around the country. On Friday, February 16, 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, her sign said, #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 said. “Change is coming!”

In Minneapolis, students walked out to the City Hall, joined by students around the country. A boy, age 16, in Toms River, New Jersey, voiced a common belief that adults have failed to keep student save, so now “It’s our generation’s responsibility.” 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.”

Another girls said, “ If I live to be 25 you’ll be voting me into office.”

 

March 14: a national walkout from school for 17 minutes organized by the Women’s March Youth group.[1] The Women’s March Youth Empower group called for a 17-minute walkout at 10 am on March 14, wearing orange.

It’s a “coalition of organizations dedicated to supporting young people in social activism.” Walkouts occurred at over 3000 schools in all 50 states and about a million students joined the National School Walkout wearing orange T-shirts. T-shirts with the locations of mass shootings, Douglas Strong, Parkland United,

Videos are available online.[2] The ACLU provided legal resources for students and others who walk out of school.

In Washington, D.C., protesters arranged 14,000 shoes on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol—one pair for each of the estimated 7,000 children killed by gunshot wounds since the Sandy Hook school massacre of 2012. Hundreds of students protested outside the White House, turning their backs on the building and sitting silently for 17 minutes—one minute for each person killed the previous month. In Boise, Idaho, students occupied four flours of the state capital building chanting, “Enough is enough.” Chicago students said, “Youth are the change.” Students in Los Angeles said, “I shouldn’t be afraid to walk into school.” Marchers in New York city wore white and veils to signify death shrouds. In Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School about 600 students “took a knee” in the corridors to protest. In Granada Hills, California, students and teachers formed a large “Enough” on the football field. Governor Andrew Cuomo participated in a “die-in” with students in Zuccotti Park. In Washington, D.C, some Democratic Congress members joined students outside the Capitol Building where Bernie Sanders told them, “You’re leading the country in the right direction.”

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.

An extension of March for Our Lives in Wisconsin was the 50 Miles More march over four days from the state capitol to Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown. At each male they tweeted the names of victims of gun violence. Katie Eder, 18, organized the mach.

 

April 20: A walkout on the anniversary of Columbine shooting was planned by Connecticut high school student Lane Murdock. 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.

 

Allies: Other Groups Join in

Two alumni of Douglas high, age 20, help with signing forms that teens can’t legally sign. When parents asked how they could help, the organizers said to order pizza. Kasky explained, “We want the grownups we need in this, and nothing more. We only have people doing the things that as 17-yer-olds we cannot.” Hogg said, “Or parents don’t know how to use a f—ing democracy, so we have to.” He added, “It’ is truly saddening to see how many of you have lost faith in America because we certainly haven’t and we are never going to. You might as well stop now because we are going to outlive you.” The father of a child killed at Sandy Hook school said on CNN’s documentary “The Parkland Diaries,” “We were too polite.” That’s not a problem for the teens. Kasky said,

“When your old-ass parent is like, ‘I don’t know how to send an iMessage,’ and you’re just like, ‘Give me the fucking phone and let me handle it.’ Sadly, that’s what we have to do with our government; our parents don’t know how to use a fucking democracy, so we have to.” Kasky, said, “The adults know that we’re cleaning up their mess.” Their philosophy is that leaders don’t create followers, they create leaders. The core group of about 25 organizers consider themselves family.

Cameron Kasky created a go-fund me on February 18 to raise funds for the march, the families of shooting victims, and on-going organizing. Over 25,000 donations and over two million dollars was raised in three days, with a $500,000 donation started by George and Amal Clooney, matched by other celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. Cher, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber also donated. The students raised more than $4 million on GoFundMe and millions more from celebrities. A top Hollywood PR film assisted with press requests pro bono, and Women’s March organizer Deena Katz volunteered as a consultant. The gun control organization EveryTown for Gun Safety gave more than $1 million in grants to sibling marches around the country, including in my hometown, Chico, California where our march filled the downtown plaza. Tom Steyer pledged to donate one million to gun-safety groups to register more high school students to vote. Jacklyn Corin responded, “Our biggest problem is that we’re getting too much help.”

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

 

Common Slogans

Enough

Your silence is killing us

Am I Next?

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

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, we’re looking for bipartisan solution. 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 putting himself 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.

 

Jaileen Kennedy, senior class president, Cape Coral High School: “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.”

 

Emma Gonzalez 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.” In an article in the March 23 Teen Vogue Gonzales wrote, “We have taken the media by storm through appearances and interviews, met with state and federal lawmakers to beg them to enact much stricter gun control laws, and been joined in protest by students around the nation and the world who’ve held school walkouts and demonstrations that exhibit the energy and power of young people in full force.”

Gonzales said, “We have to be the change we need to see, using civil disobedience. We Stoneman Douglas students may have woken up only recently from our sheltered lives to fight this fight, but we stand in solidarity with those who have struggled before us. The media afforded a group of high school students the opportunity to wedge our foot in the door, but we aren’t going through this alone. As a group, and as a movement, it’s vital that we acknowledge and utilize our privilege. We need to digitize gun-sales records, universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and ban assault weapons with a buyback system.”

Ryan Deitsch said at a press conference in Tallahassee, “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.”

 

Backlash

Al-right groups accused leaders like David Hogg of being “crisis actors” and being coached by Democrats as tools. Donald Trump, Jr. liked and re-tweeted such a post. 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. Dana Loesch, NRA spokeswoman, said, “If you’re too immature to carry a firearm, you’re too immature to make policy about firearms.”

The alt-right media source Breitbart accused the marches of being directed and funded by left-wing adults. A GOP candidate for the Maine house of Representative called Gonzales a “skinhead lesbian” on Twitter. He got go much online criticism, he dropped out of the race. When Fox TV host Laura Ingram called David Hogg a whiner because he tweeted about rejections from colleges he applied to, in response to Ingraham’s tweet, Hogg put together a list of Ingraham’s top corporate advertisers and called on his more than 600,000 Twitter followers to pressure them to boycott Ingraham’s show. A dozen quickly dropped their ads.

 

Results

Within a few days, 16 companies such as Delta Airlines, Hertz, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, MetLife insurance, Symantec security software, TrueCar, and MeLife dropped their business deals with the ARA, partly due to pressure on Twitter and Facebook. The NRA accused the companies of cowardice. Delta Airlines was punished by the Georgia legislature by rescinding tax breaks. The hashtag #stopNRAmazon pressured Amazon to stop streaming content from NRATV, the gun group’s online video channel. Some stores like Dicks sporting goods stopped selling assault rifles.

Legislators proposed gun control legislation. Florida, Rhode Island and Oregon passed stricter gun regulations. 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 Never Again 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.” Candidates like Steve Sisolak, candidate for governor in Nevada campaigned to “take on the NRA.

NRA member and Republican 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 purchase a gun to 21, ban bump stocks, fund law enforcement officers for every 1,000 students in public schools, as well as install hardware like metal detectors, steel doors and upgraded locks, bulletproof glass. Although Florida is called the “Gunshine State,” in March 9 the legislature banned bump stock, imposed a three-day waiting period, moved up the age of purchase to 21, allowed police to take guns from mentally ill people, allocated $100 million to improved school security with police offers and mental health services, and allowed some school staff to carry guns. Some legislators opposed it because it didn’t include a ban on assault weapons. The NRA quickly filled a lawsuit arguing that it violated the rights of young women who are unlikely to commit a crime. Governor Scott told the students, “You made your voices heard. You helped change your state. You made a difference.’ Rebecca Schneid, 16, editor of The Eagle Eye, said, “We’ve been calling them out and that really scared them….We’re going to keep sending people to Tallahasee because when we go away, this goes away.”

The US House of Representatives passed the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 including $50 million in federal grants for school safety training such as those developed by Sandy Hook Promise. The $1.3 trillion spending bill signed in March included only minor improvements to background checks and school safety.

Sales of bulletproof and clear backpacks went up.

Voter registration increased as it was one of the main goals of Never Again. The group HeadCount sent thousands of volunteers to register voters at marches. Traditionally youth voters have low turn out rates: Only 39% of eligible voters aged 18 to 20 voted in the 2016 election and 14% in the 2014 mid-terms. The US lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971, partly because teens were sent to fight in Vietnam. About a dozen countries permit 16-year-olds to vote including Argentina, Austria, Brazil and Nicaragua, resulting in higher voting rates for teens than older young adults—similar to Takoma Park, Maryland.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens advocated the repeal of the Second Amendment.

Why is this the generation to speak out?

Professor 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.[3] The rates of teen binge drinking fell by half since 2000. Gen Y is less likely to have a drivers’ license, have sex, drink alcohol, and 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. And lean toward libertarianism. the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2016 that cigarette smoking among high school students was at its lowest level in 24 years (except for Juul, e-cigarettes) and teens were not part of the opioid epidemic. Binge drinking down, as was soda consumption. The percentage of sexually active teens during the past three months dropped from 38% in 1991 to 30% in 2015.

Michael Tallon, age 52, observes that the Parkland students and their Gen Z “tribe” at first glance seems like “fully formed wizards” but then explains that they have lived with the threat of terrorism, mass shootings, and active shooter drills all their lives like growing up in a war.[4] They’ve seen flawed racist and sexist adults who’ve allowed the planet to be polluted and inequality to increase. They were criticized as overly sensitive snowflakes who want safe spaces and trigger warnings and overly politically correct people who warn of white privilege and non-binary sexuality. Tallon predicts that Gen Z will always be “multiracial, non-binary, non-dogmatic, digitally native omnivorously curious,” as well as bigger than previous generations. But their lack of respect for adults motivates them to take action adults won’t take.

Many of the Parklands students were influenced by the AP Government, drama, debate and journalism teachers. They debated gun control in classes.

 

 

[1] https://www.womensmarch.com/empower/

[2] Videos https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000005794215/students-are-walking-out-to-protest-gun-violence-heres-their-videos.

html?emc=edit_th_180315&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=681434300315

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

[4] Michael Tallon, “These Magic Kids,” Medium, March 25, 2018.

https://midcenturymodernmag.com/these-magic-kids-1aefbbeb81cd

 

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