The March for Our Lives movement is being embraced by teenagers all around the nation. We asked Aarushi Pant, a High School freshman in Houston, Texas, to give us the view from a teenagers point of view. Here is her reporting on how teens are using social media to be heard.
Teens Say ‘Enough is Enough'
Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. And now, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 486 deaths since 2000. 486 innocent lives lost simply due to gun violence.
School shootings have been sharply rising in numbers and fatalities since the early 2000s and for so long America has remained silent – until now. The March for Our Lives movement has finally come around as a globally recognized cause and a well-needed savior for our nation.
And not just schools, with last week's attack on YouTube headquarters by a disgruntled user of the service, the violence continues to grow.
Organizing the March for Your Lives Movement on Social Media
Now, if you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve most likely noticed the abundance of #MarchForOurLives and #NeverAgain posts, especially on networking sites like Twitter.
You also probably already know about the March for Our Lives rally which took place on March 24, with its main march in Washington, D.C. drawing over 200,000 people to the streets in protest of gun violence and in support of stricter gun regulations to be passed by lawmakers.
After becoming a trending topic on Twitter, the #MarchForOurLives movement called for social change and justice, forcing us as a nation to talk about a much-needed problem – gun violence and school shootings, with our country’s weak gun laws and regulations to blame for the recent loss of life.
Over 800 marches were planned to occur in cities all around the world, including London, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles and more. High school students in all 50 states were encouraged to start a new sister march in their area, with multiple digital tools and resources available to those interested in creating one.
Teens Are Taking Inspiring Action
I attended a sister march in Tranquility Park, along with 15,000 other Houstonians, after I stumbled upon the March for Our Lives Twitter account and decided to finally take the initiative that so many other people, especially well-known celebrities and public figures, were talking about all over social media.
One of the things that stood out to me about the movement was how prominent its digital presence was in the days leading up to the march. March for Our Lives created multiple social media accounts and hashtags, and numerous celebrities endorsed it with the #IWillMarch hashtag on Twitter.
honored to be joining @march4rlivesla on stage tomorrow and marching with everyone at #March4OurLivesLA… if you’re passionate about fixing gun violence you should join us! #IWillMarch pic.twitter.com/dFLHQlve4J
— J (@jacobsartorius) March 23, 2018
March for Our Lives was initially organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting in Florida. Students such as senior Emma González and junior Cameron Kasky relied heavily on digital networking sites to get their message across. Supporters of the rally expressed their approval and encouragement online and the posts went viral, reaching people around the world in ways that would not be possible without the interconnectedness and intricacy of the world wide web that exists today.
Michelle and I are so inspired by all the young people who made today’s marches happen. Keep at it. You’re leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 24, 2018
So ready to March today! Landed in DC w North & Kanye. We stand in solidarity with the survivors of gun violence & students who are calling for action on common sense gun safety laws at #MarchForOurLives around the country @AMarch4OurLives @Everytown
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 24, 2018
Although President Trump did not publicly comment or tweet in support of the rallies, the White House released a statement outlining the steps and precautions the government was taking to prevent gun violence in response to March for Our Lives’ call for change. Reforms to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the implementation of the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence (STOP School Violence Acts) bill proposal are some of the steps that White House speakers addressed in a recent press release.
Lady Gaga documented the march with a series of videos on Instagram so that even those who were unable to attend the march or weren’t sure about the movement itself were aware of what was happening and how they could make a difference in their own city or area.
Other Ways to Get Involved
In addition, one website is offering March for Our Lives website offered merchandise to raise funds for the movement such as shirts, bags, hats, and mugs and constantly encouraged supporters to donate to their cause and take action – once again utilizing digital platforms to reach individuals with their effective digital marketing strategies and ideas. The organization also created an app with updates and information available to people around the world.
March for Our Lives created a petition available on their website and on Change.org. After signing, I had the option to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Over 310,000 people have signed it and even more continue to sign every minute, all thanks to the March for Our Lives movement’s use of social media, networking and digital platforms advocating for gun control and stricter regulations to prevent future acts of violence and shootings.
Thank you for standing with us — we couldn't do this without you! We are not done yet. Text FIGHT to 50409 to join the movement. pic.twitter.com/0GYdgLeEMq
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) March 24, 2018
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) March 25, 2018
Aarushi Pant is a High School freshman in Houston, Texas. With an interest in journalism, she is an intern at Zoetica Media.