The #Enough National School Walkout on March 14th was an important display of solidarity with the student survivors of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Both the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 14th and the National School Walkout on Friday, April 20th present more opportunities to stand with the Parkland students and with advocates for common sense gun reform across the nation.
However, as Beacon students who care about the wellbeing of our country, we can do more than participate in marches and walkouts. We can demand action from our policymakers by supporting specific legislative change and broaden the conversation from school safety to mental health awareness and gun violence in marginalized communities.
That’s why we’ve started the Beacon Gun Reform Action Series, which will consist of weekly meetings every Wednesday during D and E Bands in Room 310 open to all Beacon students. Each meeting will be facilitated by a different student and will focus on a different aspect of gun reform, around which there will be a brief discussion followed by groups pursuing targeted actions on the issue. Action stations can involve phone banking, letter-writing, sign-making, and more. Reports of each meeting will be provided here on “The Beacon Beat” so that all students can access the information and, if they so choose, independently follow up on the action items taken.
All students are welcome to facilitate a Gun Reform Action Meeting and can sign up to do so here.
Beacon Gun Reform Action Meeting #2
Focus: Changing the Narrative of Gun Violence in Marginalized Communities & Building an Intersectional Gun Reform Movement
Thursday, April 11th
E Band, Room 310
In the April 11th meeting led by senior Divine Ndombo, Beacon students sought to expand the conversation on gun reform to the issues facing marginalized communities and communities of color in the United States. They began by trying to define intersectionality and relating their experiences with intersectional social justice activism, then discussing how the national student movement for gun reform has been criticized for a lack of intersectionality.
Below, you can find the main takeaways of the students’ conversation…
Key Points of Discussion on Intersectionality
- Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.
- Many social justice movements have been criticized for their lack of intersectionality. Other movements, such as Black Lives Matter, have worked to prioritize intersectionality.
- Different aspects of our experiences with activism at Beacon show a lack of intersectionality, especially when it comes to relations between social justice clubs.
- America’s Multiple Gun Problems (video)
- How Long Does it Take to Shoot and Reload Different Guns (video)
- America’s Gun Problem, Explained in 90 Seconds (video)
- How Gun Control Could Help Prevent Suicides (video)
- How Bump Stocks Make Semi-Automatic Guns More Deadly (video)
- “28 Organizations That Empower Black Communities”
Student Video Challenge
Make a 30-second video explaining an aspect of gun violence that most affects you or is important to you and post it on social media. Encourage others to do the same. Post with #NeverAgain and #Enough. Tag lawmakers if you want.
Issues & Action Items to Address at Future Meetings
- Establish legislative policy goals
- Explore the role of guns in American suicides
- Discuss relation of voter registration to the gun reform movement
- Find means of contacting lawmakers
- Coordinate between Beacon social justice clubs
- Determine ways to inform student body (consider teach-ins)
- Protest NRA events and platforms
Beacon Gun Reform Action Meeting #1
Focus: Organizing Beacon Students for the 3/24 March for Our Lives
Thursday, March 22nd
E Band, Room 310
In the March 22nd meeting, Beacon students planned our school’s participation in Saturday’s March for Our Lives (10 AM – 5 PM). We will be meeting at 72nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue at 9:30 AM to march together. If you would like to help register voters with the Youth Progressive Policy Group and the Brooklyn Voter Alliances, materials will be provided to you on-site following a brief voter registration demo (more details here).
In today’s Action Stations, Beaconites created three different resources for students who plan to participate in the March for Our Lives or who are otherwise involved in the fight for gun reform.
Action Station #1: Slogan List
Attending the march, but stumped on what to put on your sign? Here are some suggestions…
- Orange octagonal signs that read “Stop Gun Violence”
- Orange triangle signs that read “NRA Must Yield”
- NYC-specific meme references
- Arm muscle drawings with the slogan “These are the only guns we allow in schools”
- “Guns no more! Hear us roar!”
- “AR-15? We’re just teens”
- “Staying Alive”
- Hourglass with “Your time’s up in 2018” for legislators against gun reform
Action Station #2: Educational Resource Compilation
Knowledge is our most powerful weapon in the fight against gun violence. Get educated with this student-compiled glossary of gun reform advocacy resources.
Action Station #3: Social Media Materials
Post these images on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to spread the word about Beacon’s participation in the March for Our Lives.
At Beacon, we are united with Parkland students and determined to march for a safer future.