What to do (and what not to do) at the #MarchForOurLives
How to have a great experience and get involved in the movement for stronger gun laws
- Bring a thoughtful (and factual) sign
You can expect to see hundreds of thousands of signs this weekend ranging from poignant to tragic to personal to snarky. Your sign will set the tone for your day and convey your stance to other marchers, so craft it thoughtfully.
If you want to be snarky, be snarky. But be snarky and factual. The NRA might lie, but we don’t, and the numbers certainly don’t —in 2016, more than 38,600 died by gun violence. Counter the NRA’s lies with the truth about gun violence.
2. Learn more about gun violence in all its forms
We will march tomorrow because we have seen too many victims of mass shootings, watched too many grieving loved ones on TV. We march for them. But we must also march for those whose deaths and injuries do not make headlines.
We must learn about gun violence in all its forms and have serious discussions about the types of gun violence that are not discussed as frequently, like homicides in communities of color (in 2015, nearly 60 percent of all gun homicide victims were African-American), firearm suicides (approximately sixty percent of all firearm deaths), and domestic violence fatalities (more than half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by an intimate partner with a gun).
Take tomorrow as an opportunity to learn more about preventing gun violence in all its forms. Talk, research, and learn about Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), firearm suicide prevention policies, and policies that remove guns from domestic abusers.
3. Be patient and kind
The march is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of activists, which can result in delays and close quarters.
If this feels frustrating or claustrophobic, look around and remind yourself what an incredible display of solidarity this is. The people are out in force, standing up for what’s right, taking on the NRA. This is what change looks like. Take it in. And take photos.
- Don’t talk to trolls
Ask for the credentials of anyone who wishes to speak to you or film you. Be wary of any questions that sound like “gotcha” questions.
If you encounter counterprotesters, do not engage them. Keep your head (and your sign) held high.
You are under no obligation to talk to anyone, no matter how aggressive they may be. If you are uncomfortable, just walk away. If someone is threatening you or making you feel unsafe, report the person directly to law enforcement.
2. Don’t get distracted
The gun lobby benefits when we get distracted and blame gun violence on mental illness, violent video games, or anything other than the lethal weapons they want to sell.
Don’t get distracted by positions like “keeping guns away from the mentally ill.” Mental illness is not a significant risk factor for interpersonal violence. Follow the research and keep your eyes on the real problem: easy access to guns.
3. Don’t stop after the march is over
Stay involved in the gun violence prevention movement after the march is over. Learn more about the topic, lobby your state and federal legislators, and take other important actions to stay involved.