By Alison Stanton —
It is hard to believe that over a year has passed since 17 students and staff were killed by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Shortly after that horrible day, 20 students from the school formed a political action committee for gun control that is pushing for tougher gun laws and regulations. Known by the hashtag #NeverAgain, the organization got its start on social media. In addition to hoping to end gun violence, the #NeverAgain movement encourages teens to register to vote.
As someone who has heard the disturbing stories and seen the awful images about gun violence in schools, you are probably understandably concerned and scared about this extremely serious topic. You might also wonder how teens here in Arizona can help keep the #NeverAgain movement alive.
Fortunately, there are some things you and your friends can do, along with the help of teachers and staff at your school, to keep the momentum going on both gun control and registering to vote. For example, consider these ideas:
Start by speaking with a trusted teacher
In order to help with the #NeverAgain movement at your school, you are going to need permission from the principal and/or your teachers. Start by speaking with your favorite teacher about this important issue, and how you would like to take steps to keep #NeverAgain alive in your school and city. Your teacher may then help you to approach the principal, or he or she may speak to the administration for you. If you are unsure about speaking with someone, ask a parent or other trusted adult to help you compose an email.
Once you have permission, consider a fundraiser for a gun-control organization
There are a number of gun control groups that accept donations to help with their causes. One that has major Arizona ties is Giffords Law Center, which was founded by former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was shot in 2011. You could work with your principal on ideas for raising money for this group, or whichever organization you choose. For example, you could sell rubber bracelets to students with a message about stopping gun violence. Supportstore.com has bright orange bracelets with “End Gun Violence” printed on them. If you order up to 99 of them, they are 99 cents each and you could sell them for $2 or $3 before and after school, and then donate the money you raise to a gun control group.
Start a club that addresses this issue
If you are hoping to do more to help with the #NeverAgain movement, you could also speak with staff about starting a club that will focus on this movement’s goals. You and your fellow students could then work together on tasks related to #NeverAgain—for example, writing elected officials to tell them how important gun control is to you and your fellow students. You can use govtrack.us to figure out who our elected officials are right here in Arizona. You could also set up tables at school events like games and dances that have information on how to vote—you could either provide printed out forms or laptops that students could use to register right on the spot—this site has all of the info you need to help with this important task.
You can make a difference!
The #NeverAgain movement has accomplished quite a bit, but it does not have to fade away. The goals of the movement are too important, and there are ways that you and your friends can help. Start by speaking with that trusted teacher and then go from there—you will be amazed at what you and your classmates can accomplish.