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The Next Steps

How to Keep the Conversation Going

Staff Editorial

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Last month, two protests manifested on school grounds. Although each reacted differently to recent acts of gun violence, both shared passion and commitment from students.

However, as rapidly as the desire for school safety and the topic of gun control ignited debates across the nation, the passion of the subject has declined just as quickly. Without the motivation to change the world, gun violence will continue to take lives and nothing will be accomplished.

So, how can students, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “be the change [they] wish to see in the world?”

If activists want to see a change —whether it’s increased gun regulations or arming teachers — they need to keep the conversation going. When an idea begins to dwindle and fade away, the entire movement collapses.

As of April 20, there have been 20 school shootings in the United States in which, according to CNN, “victims have been hurt or killed”. Although not every school shooting is considered a mass shooting (the difference determined by the amount of fatalities), every shooting has an unforgettable impact on those who experience it.

Activists should listen to school shooting survivors and allow them a platform to spread their message, such as through social media or interviews. Their stories can persuade constituents and lawmakers alike to take action against gun violence.

Additionally, activists need to keep their movement’s goal clear. The message of a movement can easily become lost in translation, overwhelmed by opponents and descending into chaotic, off-topic debates. Should a debate with an opposing side occur spark conflict, arguments presented need to be factual and reasonable.

In fact, debates are a great tool to keep the issue of gun control in the spotlight. This allows both sides of the argument to have a logical discussion and explore their ideas in depth and can also lead to even more supporters joining the movement.

For a movement to be successful, it must have a clear, explicit message rather than taking a vague stance. A movement’s strength comes through the shared beliefs of its supporters. If a movement lacks conviction, it is at risk of falling apart before its supporters can accomplish anything meaningful.

Besides having a clear message, activists must also set a goal in mind and clarify the purpose of their movement. By creating a solid objective, it will become easier to plan courses of action.

To ensure that every supporter understands the goal and philosophy of the movement, activists can hold town halls where guests can ask questions. Therefore, if any stance remains ambiguous, activists can clarify their viewpoint on the matter.

Overall, every step taken should be aimed at a certain group of people: lawmakers. While it is important to also influence voters, activists should first and foremost focus on persuading politicians who have the ability to make legal changes. If politicians choose to be stagnant, not proposing or not taking appropriate action, the next step is to convince constituents to vote them out.

Protesting can be an influential way to catch the attention of representatives, but there are other actions that can be taken as well. For example, a widespread petition may have the same impact as a protest. This can easily be completed through websites such as Change.org. Another way to persuade politicians is by directly contacting them, through means such as calling their office or writing a letter to their representative.

In order to prevent the talks about gun control from becoming a forgotten topic in the United States, activists should take the aforementioned steps. By directing their message at lawmakers and focusing on a clear objective, change will be inevitably arrive.

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