The world has, indisputably, become more vocal.
And it’s not just because we have immense access to content, or the convenience of sharing through the touch of a screen, and that our gateway to the world can be one instastory, one tweet, or one snapchat away.
Heading to the Big Apple for a partners visit last week, I was a little apprehensive of the terrain that I’ll be going into. After all, this is a country that is going through such a season of volatility and change — just 280 characters from the POTUS sends a media wave reverberating across the globe, daily.
Life has a way of presenting juxtaposes in your path to you reflect upon your beliefs. What caught me by (pleasant) surprise, was the absolute privilege of being in the city right in the midst of March For Our Lives. Here’s to share a bit of what made me come home, really illuminated.
March For Our Lives
On 14 February 2018, a shooting struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. A gunman stormed into school and killed 17 students and teachers in a 6 minute 20 second rampage. The tragedy not only shook the world with outrage, but also sowed a very deep seed in the minds of the survivors of this incident and their immediate community.
35 days to start a movement
The students shortly decided that prayers and support for victim’s families were not enough for them, and a core group of youth from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organised themselves in a directed effort to advocate for tighter gun legislative laws — one that culminated in the March For Our Lives.
In a mere 5 weeks, the march brought together:
- at least 2 million people in more than 800 March For Our Lives protests across the country and the world.
- 3.3 million: Tweets sent with the #MarchForOurLives hashtag
- 387: U.S. congressional districts across the country that saw marches
- 104: solidarity marches outside the U.S.
- 800,000 attended the march in Washington, D.C. alone, making it the largest single-day protest in the history of the nation’s capital
(Courtesy: Fast Company: #MarchForOurLives by the numbers)
Many voices, one message
This was one of the most inclusive activism efforts I’ve seen. In the march, rallies and media representation, the most diversified pool of individuals came together for one cause. African-American students and minority races joined the march; family members of the victims, teachers, parents and their children, members of the public — even tourists — were represented amongst the march crowds. Even celebrities and media personalities made their contributions through pledges and commentaries. (see the response by former President Barack Obama).
The youngest rally speaker Naomi Wadler, aged 11, delivered her speech to the Washington D.C. march crowd.
Teens take centre stage
This march and campaign was birthed and led entirely by young people. Starting with only 3 friends in their teens, the trio quickly grew their core team and recruited key members to join their cause. The youth organised themselves and developed a clear call of action for their activism efforts. Their rally for help was extremely concerted — they sought out journalism seniors, survivors of school shooting incidents, youth across diversity profiles etc etc. They utilised media — tweets, online posts and