So we marched last weekend and it was amazing. The numbers are still being verified, but here are a couple of stats and keep in mind, KIDS organized this in 5 short weeks… oh while grieving over a school shooting and still being students.
So now what? What comes next? More importantly, what can we as parents do to keep this momentum going? Well fortunately, we can look at these kids once again for guidance.
“Our target is the November elections, and we know we definitely have to keep pushing forward to then. This whole thing has taken off into a much bigger thing. We are starting a non-profit and want to continue to advocate for gun control, reforms and voter education,” said Jaclyn Corin, one of the core members of the group.
The most important thing we can do as activist parents is to nurture any little spark this may have ignited in our children. For more on “sparks”, please check out Nurturing the Spark. Hey, we are raising the next generation of leaders, right? If your kid marched alongside you bring them into the conversation about the next steps. This is a great time to talk about the way our democracy was designed to work. In the swirl of elections it’s tough to go back to talking about the basics. There are great resources that help to explain how important midterms and primaries are to our democracy. I linked some below.
Attend a Town Hall. Depending on where you live, a town hall might be the perfect place to bring your activist kid. Now I say that because some town halls turn ROWDY. And while I love a rowdy amped up electorate, my kid doesn’t need to participate in a “Fuck YOU, Paul Ryan” chant.. at least not at the tender age of 6.
Make an appointment. For the next two weeks, Congress is HOME -right in your backyard. Don’t let it be a vacation for them. If they aren’t holding a town hall or you fear it might be the rowdy sort call your leader’s office and tell them you want to make an appointment for you and your child to visit. Depending on the age of your tiny activist they can prepare in many ways. For the younger kids you can help them to understand how this person is, while the older kids can think about issues they feel passionately about and dive into voting records.
If you have very young kids visiting anywhere can be tough. I don’t really want to explain to Senator Warren why her office is now all covered in jelly… your older child can also write a letter or make phone calls with you. Let them find their own voices on this topic. With my jelly covered 2 yr old and precocious 6 yr old this is probably my family’s best bet. The key is to find what works for your ‘right now’.
Your job isn’t done just because you marched and your kid wrote a letter. There are tons of things we, as adults, NEED to do to keep this movement going.
Call Call CALL. Every day. Local, State and Federal. I know you can make five 30 second phone calls a day. Gun sense bills are being introduced at the state and local level at a dizzying speed. Find out about them and support the ones that make sense to you. Unfortunately, bad gun bills are also being introduced, so stay on top of those and bat them down like whack a mole.
The best BEST way to easily know what’s happening with gun laws is to join your local Moms Demand Action ( fathers are obviously welcome too!) and Everytown for Gun Safety. I joined my local MDA and now I get emails when an action item comes up. It is a great nearly mindless way to stay active and informed. As parents, we need to give ourselves permission to let others do the work and tell exactly what to do to make an impact.
Get out the Vote drives– the most important thing we can do RIGHT now is registering voters.
70% of Millennials did NOT vote in 2016 versus just 30% of Senior citizens. If we want to see progressive agendas taking root we NEED to get the younger generation voting. Headcount is an organization that registers voters at music events. They showed up to some March for Our Lives events and registered an additional 5,000 voters. Remember Trump won Michigan by just 11,000 votes. Every vote counts. When voter turnout is high Democrats win.
Even if you talk one person into registering and voting that is one more voice we add. Don’t get discouraged thinking “oh well, I can’t go door to door with all my kids in tow, maybe in a couple years I will be able to help.” We don’t have a couple years. Our kids don’t have a couple years. The ocean is made up of millions of drops. You can help now regardless of how much time you have. That young mom in your play group? Ask her if she’s registered to vote. Show her the website or give her the form. Follow up. The intern in your office? Ask her and follow up. Opportunities will present themselves just do it when you can.
Donate to GOTV drives. If you can’t go boots on the ground (and I get not being able to-I’m not taking my two kids knocking on doors) and you talked to everyone you know about voting look into how you can support local drives. Donate to help them off set costs.
I have said this before, specifically here- Now is the time. We have a chance to turn this into a sustainable movement that will change our children’s lives. But if we fail to act this moment will pass us by.