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This weekend, thousands of people will gather in DC and at over 800 events across the world for the March For Our Lives, a protest organized by the student survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, to demand action to end gun violence. The march comes after students across the country walked out of their classrooms last week, many for seventeen minutes in tribute to the seventeen lives lost in Parkland. A similar walkout is planned for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
After so many mass shootings, there’s a temptation to be cynical. With little legislative movement, the violence continues; the past six months have seen three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. Just as brutal are the deaths that often fail to grab our attention—according to data from the CDC, an average of 96 Americans are killed by guns each day, a number that climbs by the year.
But this time, the impassioned protests of high school activists and survivors have ignited action and revealed a nationwide frustration with the relentless sequence of massacres. “People right now are just fed up with the lack of change,” says Andrew Patrick, the media director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV).
The students of Parkland are also attempting to connect with activists and victims of gun violence not given the same amount of attention. Acknowledging the discrepancy between their suddenly high-profile platform and that afforded to young black activists who have been at the forefront of this issue, they met over pizza with their peers in Chicago and attempted to bridge their experience with the high rates of gun homicides endemic within communities of color.
A recent CNN poll found that 70 percent of Americans support stricter gun control laws, the highest level since 1993. After public pressure following the Parkland shooting, corporations in industries ranging from aviation to banking have started to cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA). The movement has even led to tangible legislative success; the Republican-controlled Florida state legislature recently passed a bill that added restrictions on gun purchases—the first of its kind in the state in over 20 years.
The cracks are beginning to show and advocates of “gun sense” policies (activists say that there’s nothing controlling about protecting public safety and so “gun control” is a misnomer) are beginning to win. Here are five ways you can join the fight:
1. Contact your elected officials—at every level.
A raft of proposals are being considered at the city, state, and federal levels. Here are just a few to write and call lawmakers about: