Gun Control Now: Participate. Donate. Express. Resist. Persevere.

gun control

Americans, especially teenagers, have done so much these past couple of months to push for gun control legislation. Now that the nationwide events are over, how can we keep up the momentum?

Real grassroots change in policy is like a successful work out. We work really hard until our muscles start straining, and then we keep going, and that’s when real change is made. It’s tiring, and you will feel like you’ve done enough, but nothing will actually change until we’ve done more, pushed harder, and passed out from exhaustion (not literally).

What have we already done?

On March 1st, we boycotted companies who partnered with the NRA. Subsequently, Dick’s Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean Inc., Walmart, Kroger, Delta Air Lines, Met Life, Hertz, United Airlines, Enterprise Holdings, REI, and many other companies made changes in their policies such as raising the buying age to 21, discontinuing NRA member benefits, and/or discontinuing the sale of assault rifles.

On March 14th, we walked out of school at 10 AM for 17 minutes. There were more than a million students, in more than 3000 schools, in all 50 states, who chose to take this action to show lawmakers that if they want to stay in office, things need to change. I organized the walk out at my high school with a friend, and the response we received was enormous. Here’s the video:

On March 24th, more than 2 million Americans (many of them first time protestors) participated in March for Our Lives, which featured speakers such as Emma Gonzalez and Martin Luther King’s granddaughter. 90% of the protestors were of voting age.

On April 20th, a couple days ago, students around the nation walked out again at 10 AM, either for 13 minutes or for the rest of the day. Some students will be staying home until new gun control legislation is passed.

After the Douglas shooting, we sent posters and letters of support and encouragement to the students of Douglas High School to show them that they are not alone in this fight.

Why did we participate in making change, and why should we continue?

“I did the walk out because I want to feel safe. Too many innocent people’s lives are being lost to gun violence. Growing up, I always felt I was lucky to not live in a third world country, in a country that was peaceful, not at a war, and mostly inclusive of everybody. Instead, I find myself trying to understand why so many people are being killed and why it’s so easy to get those weapons at all. I’m disappointed in the fact that there is even a necessity to make a show of protest against such horrific weapons. The cause for the death of so many lives should not be something that has to be advocated against… it should be obvious. Whether people have the right to be safe or not should not be something that is put into question. We, as the future of America, need to do something and this is why we walk out.” – Ananya

“I’m participating in the walkout at Mission Vista High because my whole life I have been surrounded by school shootings and I’m sick of it. The shootings in the last few years have made my anxiety so bad that sometimes I can’t go outside for days. I want to feel safe in my learning environment and not have school shootings be a regular occurrence.” – Elizabeth

“A significant reason for my decision to participate in the walkout is that I would never want to see my friends be massacred because the country I live in refuses to have serious talks about gun laws.” – Anthony

“I am walking out because I know I am not the only one who is scared to go to school. I am walking out to say no more. No more lives ended too soon. Enough is enough. Now is our time to be heard.
#nomore #neveragain” – Stella

“We can’t keep letting shootings happen. We must show that even though most high-schoolers and younger kids can’t vote, we still have a voice. We need to show that our voice is what keeps schools safe. Go out and take a stand!” –Alexa

“It began slowly. A practice school lockdown once a year. Then, in high school, an active shooter drill. This was how I was taught about school shootings, as if they were merely items to check off on the curriculum. When I first started hearing about the Parkland shooting, I didn’t realize that it was a school shooting. All I knew was that there had been a mass shooting in Florida. What else is new? Thoughts and prayers, the NRA lobbying against gun control, another shooting next week, etc. etc. Then I heard the full story. Then I heard Emma Gonzalez’s speech. I had the opportunity to help organize a walkout and rally at UW Red Square, where thousands of students made it clear that they were fed up. Fed up with politicians lining their own pockets with the NRA’s blood money. Fed up with the normalization of gun violence. Fed up with being left to die. Now more than ever, our voices must be heard. We are the generation that grew up with school shootings, and we should be the last generation to live in this constant fear. If our elected officials refuse to protect us? Replace them. Every time students walk out of class protesting gun violence, our voices will be louder. Now is not the time to stay silent. Now is the time to yell! #NotOneMore #Enough #NeverAgain #ThrowThemOut” – Danny

gun control
Metiza Editor in Chief, Paige Bird at the Phoenix March For Our Lives Protest
What can we do to walk the extra mile and push in the ways that will make tangible changes?
  • DONATEto gun control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Giffords Law Center.
    • DO WELL IN SCHOOL and try to get a well-paying job so you can donate more when you grow up as well to sustainably continue making changes.
    • SHARE THE LINKS to gun control organizations’ websites such as the ones above, so more people are aware of where their money is going to make a difference.
    • HOLD A FUNDRAISER (such as a dance or a targeted poetry night), and make sure people know the money is going to be donated to gun control groups.
  • PARTICIPATE IN SMALLER PROTESTSaround your area. Local changes can be monumental when added up.
    • Go to your CITY COUNCIL MEETINGSand speak about the changes you want to see.
    • ORGANIZEprotest events at your local or state government offices.
    • SPREAD INFORMATION about anyevents you hear about.
  • EXPRESS your opinion through as many mediums as possible.
    • POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA about the things you’re doing so that more teens are mobilized.
      • USE HASHTAGSsuch as #enough, #neveragain, #nomore, #throwthemout, #guncontrol to connect to other people in the movement.
      • USE TWITTER to tweet at politicians and businesses.
    • WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS to pressure them into refusing money from the NRA.
    • WRITE EMAILS/LETTERS TO BUSINESSES to pressure them into cutting ties with groups such as the NRA.
    • SIGN PETITIONS on sites such as change.org to mass-pressure politicians and businesses into making the necessary changes.
  • ENDURE and keep fighting for the changes you want to see. This is your right as an American citizen.

Let’s continue to make these small pushes together through donating, expressing, enduring, and participating, so that we start to see the payoff as soon as possible. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to wait until I have kids to start seeing schools and communities become safer. It is absolutely essential for us to go those extra miles, even after we feel like we’ve done our part, because that is when real changes start manifesting as a result of our efforts.