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.” 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. 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.”  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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”
 The founders. Glimmer of Hope. Penguin, 2018, p.. 175
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“A new TargetSmart analysis of voter registration data in the 39 states with available data show that registration rates for voters aged 18-29 have significantly increased in key battleground states over the last seven months, presaging the increased impact youth voters may have on the upcoming midterm and presidential elections.
Using February 14, 2018, as a reference point – the date on which the Parkland shooting happened, which spurred a youth-led movement to register young voters across the country — TargetSmart’s analysis found that the share of youth registrants nationwide has increased by 2.16 percent, a potentially impactful surge in youth enrollment. With more than a dozen states’ primaries still left and months until voter registration deadlines, the findings are an early quantitative sign that youth turnout is on the rise in this year’s midterm elections.
The state-by-state analysis shows that younger voters are poised to have an outsized impact in key battleground races. Pennsylvania – which has November elections for U.S. Senator, Governor, and many critical House races – saw youth voter registration surge by over 16 points after February 14, jumping from 45.2 percent to 61.4 percent of new registrants.
Other states with critical elections that may decide control of the U.S. Senate and House also showed large increases in youth registration, including Arizona (+8.2 point increase), Florida (+8), Virginia (+10.5), Indiana (+9.9), and New York (+10.7).
This spike in voter registration activity comes on the heels of the grassroots movement to address gun violence issues.
A recent poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, conducted in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., found that 64 percent of 18-29 year-olds favor common sense gun reforms.
TargetSmart’s analysis reviewed voter registration data in 40 states across the country, where the official voter rolls have been updated since February 14. In each state we calculated the share of new registrants age 29 or younger in the period before the Parkland shooting to the share in the same time period after the shooting. Because states release voter file updates on varied schedules, the time period varies from state to state, but the period for analysis within each state included a symmetrical period before and after February 14.”
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.”
Your additions welcomed.
Never Again Tactics After the Parkland School Shooting
Gayle Kimball, email@example.com
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. 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Your silence is killing us
Am I Next?
Protect our children
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
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.”
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.
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. 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. 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.
 Jean Twenge, “Why this Generation of Teens is More Likely to Care About Gun Violence,” The Conversation, February 22, 2018.
 Michael Tallon, “These Magic Kids,” Medium, March 25, 2018.
President Barack Obama tweeted that that “Young people have helped lead all our great movements. How inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students standing up for their right to be safe; marching and organizing to remake the world as it should be. We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.” He was speaking to the high school students leading the Never Again movement for gun control after 17 people were shot dead at the Steadman high school in Florida on February 14, 2018.
The Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama, was an important event in the Civil Rights movement when more than a thousand high school and college students marched for desegregation in May 1963. Police attacks galvanized support for the cause which resulted in desegregation of downtown stores. Also, college students from all over the US participated in Freedom Summer, the 1964 voter registration drive in Mississippi. They helped organize 50 Freedom Schools to continue community organizing. College students led the movement for free speech on college campuses, for women’s liberation, environmentalism and protests against the Viet Nam war with demonstrations starting in 1964 to the end in 1973. After decades of less visible activism, young people helped lead the wave of uprisings that started with the Arab Spring in 2011, and in the US the Dreamer movement for Latinx immigrants, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Never Again movement for gun control.
A large youth generation changes the cultural climate just as the Baby Boomers did in the 1960s. An even bigger group of young people, Generations Y and Z, will certainly change our global future because about half of the world’s current population is under age 30, over 60% of them growing up in the global South. Almost two billion people are ages 10 to 24. Their stories provide a glimpse into how to prepare for their horizontal leadership style and desire for direct democracy. “Do you think the new generation is changing the face of life?” asked SpeakOut student Debraj (16, m, India). Answering “yes” to Debraj’s question is one of the points of this book series. “When we think about the legacy of your generation, you’re going to define it. And in doing so, you’ll define the world,” predicted Zeenat Rahman, Special Advisor to the US Secretary of State and Director of the Office of Global Youth Issues.
In a 2013 address to youth UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “young people are shaping the world” because they’re half the world’s population in a “youth quake.” He asked them, “Are you ready to shake things up?” He told world leaders to listen to young people and to women and to respond to their needs because youth know how to use social media to “change history,” as they did in the Arab Spring and will continue to do over the long run.[i] I list over 40 youth-led uprisings since 2011. For example, in Asia, Hong Kong students are the most active in fighting for independence from the mainland, known as the Umbrella Movement of 2014, who formed their own party called Demosisto. Beijing retaliated by putting some of the rebel leaders in jail and prohibiting two of them from being seated in the legislature, despite being voted in. It also prohibited Agnes Chow, 21, from running in a 2018 election. Taiwan’s minority party became the majority in the legislature and elected a woman president who promised to work on finding jobs for youth with a new model of economic development, actions traced to the Sunflower movement, as is the formation of the New Power party. Similarly, in South Korea the opposition party gained a majority in the 2016 elections due to the turnout of voters in their 20s and 30s to protest the status quo. Japanese students were galvanized by the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011 to protest against more nuclear plants and militarization.