“March for Our Lives” is this Saturday, March 24. If you’re concerned about gun violence or school safety, or you want to support young people who are, please come out and march. We encourage you to bring friends and meet up with Together We Will — San José to march in downtown San José. See the TWWSJ invitation and the official San José march event.
Can’t march this Saturday? Here are some ways to participate in gun control activism and advocacy from home:
1. Join, donate to, and sign up for updates and calls to action from, gun control organizations like:
Locally, join the San José chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
2. Register — yourself and others! — to vote. In California register via California Online Voter Registration.
And donate to organizations that are registering folks to vote or working on securing voting rights, like:
3. If you live in a district where your elected representatives have accepted NRA contributions, call out those politicians and pressure them to stop taking the money. See a list of Congressional recipients based on OpenSecrets.org data (Google Sheets).
4. Let your elected officials know how you feel about common sense gun control. Everytown for Gun Safety makes it easy. Or use 1-844-USA-0234 to reach all your Members of Congress, or use Resistbot via Facebook Messenger.
5. Educate yourself about various policy proposals.
- Summary of federal and state policies about guns in schools: Guns in Schools (Giffords Law Center)
- California-specific information: Guns in Schools in California (Giffords Law Center), School Safety (California Teachers Association)
- Opinion piece about making schools safer: There are ways to make schools safer and teachers stronger—but they don’t involve guns (Brookings Institution)
- When people ask, “What can we do? Violence is everywhere in our society,” refer them to this World Health Organization (WHO)’s paper on decreasing violence (PDF).
6. Learn about the way that bringing more police into schools or arming school staff will strengthen the school-to-prison pipeline and disproportionately pose a threat to children of color.
- More Cops In Schools Means More Black Kids In The Criminal Justice System (Huffington Post)
- When School Feels Like Prison (The Atlantic)
- Students, Police, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline (UF Law Scholarship Repository, PDF)
7. Take a moment to acknowledge the debt that we owe Black Lives Matter and other youth of color for setting the example of mass protest against reckless gun usage. As BLM Network co-founder Patrisse Cullors said recently, “…we wouldn’t be seeing this level of protest if we didn’t have this [example] for the last five years. Black Lives Matter really set this idea of how we fight and how we protest into action.”
Read more and commit to supporting other communities affected by gun violence, especially urban youth and people of color, with your money and activism.
- When Teens Protest, Race Matters (Citylab)
- Parkland is sparking a difficult conversation about race, trauma, and public support (Vox)
8. When talking about gun safety, remember police violence against people of color, and consider, too, that the crusade to enact policy changes to reduce gun violence is one link between the March for Our Lives and the protests against the police shootings of unarmed people of color. The Washington Post calculates that 230 people have been killed by police this year, and just this past weekend, an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, was killed in his own backyard by police in Sacramento.
- Fatal Force: 230 people have been shot and killed by police in 2018 (Washington Post)
- Updated: Black man shot by police was carrying cellphone, not ‘tool bar,’ when he was shot, department says (Sacramento Bee)
On a related note, read this piece arguing that meaningful gun control should disarm both the public and much of the police: We need gun control that disarms the public and the police (Center for Community Change)
9. If you have children or young people in your life, talk to them about their feelings and perspective on gun violence and mass shootings. Some questions — from the Anti-Defamation League:
- How do you feel about what you know and have heard about gun violence and mass shootings? What else do you want to know?
- Do you know people who have different opinions on gun violence? What do they say and how does this influence (or not) your point of view?
- What do you think should be done to keep people safe from gun violence?
- Why do you think so many people feel it is important to protect people’s right to own guns?
- Why do you think there are so many more mass shootings than there used to be?
10. Donate money to the March for Our Lives organizers to defray the cost of permits, security, staging, porta-potties, etc., to help make the event go smoothly and safely. Locally, donate to the March for Our Lives San Jose (GoFundMe).
11. In general, petitions aren’t considered as powerful or effective as calling your Members of Congress. Still, here’s a petition backed by Everytown for Gun Safety urging Congress to back common sense gun laws.
12. Want to feel fired up? Check out this video from a Stoneman Douglas High School student’s answer to a NRA ad: Stoneman Douglas student Sarah Chadwick turns the tables on that ominous NRA ad (YouTube)