Dear PAGE Activist,
After the tragic events in Parkland, Florida, there’s new attention and momentum for activists and citizens seeking to break the gun manufacturers’ violent chokehold on Congress, state houses, and members of our own communities. Only days after surviving the shooting, Emma Gonzalez spoke eloquently about gun violence and its links to the NRA and corrupt politics. Another survivor shamed Marco Rubio’s ties to the NRA on Twitter:
As we recognize and celebrate these young activists, we must also remember that black activists and other people of color have been organizing against gun violence for a long time. Their communities are most affected by our country’s failure to deal with this problem – yet their work is overlooked. Black people make up ~14% of the U.S. population, but account for over half of gun homicide victims, and are far more likely to be killed by guns in the hands of police. While school shootings and gun massacres capture our attention, they account for a minuscule fraction of gun deaths. As Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said this week, “I’m so grateful these children are getting the support they need ... And where is our support?” We fully agree.
The gun problem in America is deep and complicated – tied up in a nexus of corrupt politics and a sad indifference for human life, particularly the lives of people of color. These are deep-rooted problems that require a massive paradigm shift to overcome, harnessing individual and collective action to change the power structures that sustain this violence. We hope this shift is beginning, but know there is work ahead.
This week, we try to hold hope and complexity in our hearts at the same time. Our actions focus on breaking the grip of guns over our politics and society, using the tools of the ballot box, the boycott, love, and support. As always, our actions are curated for US Americans abroad. If you’re new to PAGE, get in touch with us at email@example.com, or check out our website.
PAGE Global Coordinating Committee
1. Support those who are most affected by gun violence in America.
Lift up minority activists, who have been speaking and demonstrating about this issue for a long time. Share this HuffPo piece on why we need to talk about black lives in the context of gun violence, as well as this article from Teen Vogue, highlighting how black teens have been fighting for gun reform for a long time, and discuss them with your PAGE group or friends.
Support youth-led organizations like Million Hoodies and Dream Defenders, a Florida-based organization working for freedom and liberation, including from gun violence. Promote these organizations on social media, sign up for their newsletters, and make a donation. Take the time to read the platform of the Movement for Black Lives, calling for an end to the war on black people, and discuss with your group how your efforts to end gun violence can focus on those who suffer from it the most.
Support the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Still in the rawness of their grief, students from MSD have changed the national conversation on gun control. The Florida Sun-Sentinel lists organizations accepting donations - we particularly like the GoFundMe to send Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, and other high school student spokespeople to Washington DC to hold our elected officials accountable. Follow their movement on Twitter @AMarch4OurLives and @Emma4Change. Then, as requested by a teacher at MSD, send letters of support to the kids returning to school at Diane Wolk-Rogers, Stoneman Douglas High School, 5901 Pine Island Road, Parkland, Florida 33076.
2. Get your money out of gunmakers’ pockets.
Tell companies to stop supporting the NRA – or you’ll stop supporting them. In the past few days, a deluge of online activism has led companies like Norton Antivirus; Hertz, Avis, and Budget car rental; and First National Bank of Omaha to end their corporate relationships with the NRA. Think Progress is keeping an updated list of companies still working with the NRA, where you can also sign up for updates. Check this list of companies, and contact them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to tell them to end their relationship with the NRA, using this Tweet sheet from Indivisible Cleveland and the hashtag #BoycottNRA. If companies refuse to change, don’t give them your money! Ethical alternatives are available.
If you still haven’t pulled the plug on Amazon, read up on how they do business with the NRA and Sandy Hook truthers, in addition to other hateful, dangerous groups and individuals. If you have Amazon in your country, ask yourself whether the convenience of using it is really worth it. Talk with your group about other options for conveniently getting the same stuff abroad, or by supporting local businesses.
Divest from guns. Do you have an investment portfolio in the U.S.? If yes, you’re probably investing in gun stocks (they’re highly profitable). Find out more - and learn how to take gun stocks out of your portfolio - with this action from Wall-of-Us.
3. Join or organize a solidarity march against gun violence where you live on March 24. A number of sister marches are being organized globally on March 24th - check them out here (a map is coming soon on the website of March for Our Lives). Find out if one is taking place where you live - and if not, organize one!
Join events scheduled for March 14th (the “ENOUGH” school walkout organized by Women’s March) and April 20th (the Day of Action to stop gun violence in schools organized by the Network for Public Education). We follow the lead of the NPE, who say, “We want the momentum for real change to build with every new action.” Whatever action you can take to make your voice heard is valuable!
Focus on legislation. Leading up to the march, educate yourself on exactly which gun measures you want your Members of Congress to vote for, and against. Get ideas from this handy analysis by Upshot at the New York Times, then get into the details at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Whatever you do, make sure you ask your MoCs to repeal the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the U.S. Centers for Disease Control from even studying the problem of gun violence or promoting gun control in any way. Before his death, Congressman Jay Dickey himself said he regretted his role in passing this bill.
Once you’ve done the research, write a #LettertoYourSenator and post it on Twitter. Need inspiration? Watch this powerful video letter to Marco Rubio from one of his Florida constituents.
**Thank you for your progressive action !**