The activists who organized after the Parkland shooting say they have built up their organizing capacity since then, and they remain committed to making at least as significant a difference in 2020 as they did in 2018. But this year, they say, a big part of that will mean building solidarity with organizers confronting racial injustice.
“For us, we recognize how gun violence is such an intersectional issue,” said Kelly Choi, 20, a member of the executive board at March for Our Lives, the national nonprofit that grew out of the Parkland students’ organizing. “Gun violence is the symptom of other things, like poverty, racism, housing insecurity, domestic violence.”
Students Demand Action, a grass-roots network affiliated with Michael Bloomberg’s nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, sprouted more than 400 chapters of its own after the Parkland shooting. Its student members are at the core of Everytown’s voter-registration and other campaign operations, part of a planned $60 million investment by the nonprofit in federal and state races this fall.
In their work, too, Students Demand Action organizers are emphasizing collaboration. “When I first got involved, it was in the wake of a school shooting, and there was this thought that gun violence is school shootings and mass shootings,” said Alanna Miller, 19, who founded a Students Demand Action chapter at her Texas high school after the Parkland attack, and then another chapter at Duke University — where she is now a rising sophomore — in the wake of El Paso. “Yes, that’s true, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s domestic-partner violence, it’s inner-city violence.” …
But today, with a different youth-protest movement sweeping the country, millennials and young adults in Generation Z are more likely to explicitly name racial justice as their top political concern. A Fox News poll last month found that voters under 30 were three times as likely as those 45 and over to call race-related issues their No. 1 policy priority. Just three percent of the youngest voters named gun violence as their top concern.