How To Support The US Students Campaigning For Safer Gun Control After The Parkland School Shooting
These amazing teens are creating a movement, and we're totally behind them every step of the way.
Last month, 17 students and teachers were killed and more injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in the US’s deadliest school shooting since 2012. The shooting is unfortunately not one of a kind, but merely the latest of many. In fact, last week CNN reported that there have been at least 14 school shootings across the US in 2018 alone.
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Since the Parkland tragedy, students in Florida and beyond have been uniting to turn their grief and horror into activism by using their social media accounts to protest unsafe gun laws and putting pressure on the government to act. At the centre of it all are a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who created Never Again, the reactionary movement to the shooting which gained huge momentum on social media and attracted attention worldwide. Emma Gonzalez, an 18-year-old student from the school and one of the Never Again founders, delivered a speech at a rally after the shooting to “call BS” on attitudes to gun control laws that went viral. Another one of the founders (Cameron Kasky) was offered the chance to write an Op-Ed in CNN after speaking out about the tragedy, which you can read here.
Now, Women’s March Youth Empower has called for a National School Walkout. Yep, today in the US from 10am - 10.17am (one minute for every victim of the shooting), students at schools and universities across America will walk out of their classrooms to pay tribute to the Parkland victims and promote gun safety at school, on the streets, and in their homes and communities. They’ll also be protesting the fact that Congress still hasn’t stepped up to pass any legislation to tighten gun control, because while powerful people sending their 'thoughts and prayers' are appreciated, they want real change to take place to stop the same thing from happening again. MTV will be going dark and our programmes will be suspended during the seventeen-minute walkout, to show our support.
Next week (24th March), there will also be a march in Washington D.C.. March For Our Lives will see students, parents and supporters rally together to say enough is enough. Celebs like Oprah and George Clooney have already donated money to the march, and many others have raised their voices in support, including Kendall Jenner.
In the UK and many other countries around the world we are lucky enough to have strict gun control that stops people from accessing guns easily, and school shootings seem like an unimaginable horror. It must be terrifying feeling so unsafe at school, or anywhere else for that matter, and no-one should have to go through what students like those in Parkland have gone through.
How can we support if we’re not from the US?
The movement that student activists have driven in the US has been incredible and has reminded everyone how powerful young people are when they take action. But even if you aren’t based in the US, your voice matters too – so here’s how to make it count.
Firstly, follow the progress of the National School Walkout today and voice your support. Although MTV will be going dark during the walkout, students across the US will be doing a takeover of MTV social media accounts at the same time, so keep an eye out! You can also check on the progress by typing the walkout hashtag (#Enough) into social media, and remember to send the students a supportive message using the same hashtag.
Secondly, march. March For Our Lives sister marches are happening on the 24th March around the world alongside the one in Washington D.C., so find out about the ones near you to stand up and march for the cause too. If you can’t make it in person, donate to support it here. Wherever you're based, there are ways we can all reach out, help to try to change things, and prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
Even if it's just via a supportive post on social media using the hashtags #enough or #neveragain, let's show students in the US that although we may be on the other side of the world, we’ve got their backs.
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