Update: March on Washington for Gun Control

Dear Friends:

It’s been nearly three weeks since our March on Washington for Gun Control, and your calls, petition-signing, and all your actions large and small continue to have a tremendous impact. The conversation is ongoing for common sense legislation around gun control because of your efforts.
Since the March, we’ve seen:
  • The National Press List reported, “From Miami to Las Vegas, St. Paul to St. Petersburg, Denver to Des Moines, Tampa to Tallahassee and Orlando, elected officials, faith and civil rights leaders, victims of gun violence, concerned citizens called on Congressional delegation to support President Obama’s common sense gun violence prevention measures. Ahead of the President’s State of the Union address, these communities offered their own State of the Union address to members of Congress on the importance of tackling gun violence, a plague that is snuffing out the lives of thirty-three people including nearly nine children and teenagers in America every single day.” Visit these links: Protect Children, Not Guns (Children’s Defense Fund), Miami Leaders Give State of the Union Message on Gun Violence (NBC Miami).
  • The President was brilliant at the State of the Union address and included gun violence reduction among his priorities. He was emotional and moving in his drive to motivate legislators. Many survivors of gun violence were in attendance (read more: Washington Post; ABC News).
  • More meetings and conversations on the Hill.
  • Our friends who marched with us from Newtown have formed an advocacy organization called Newtown Action Alliance.

In the past few weeks we’ve also received queries from many people who would like to organize their own marches for gun control, seeking our advice. We’re happy to share our project report with anyone who requests it, but here are some of the lessons that we learned from the March that might be useful:

  • You will experience obstacles and resistors. Stay true to your mission, stay committed and stay optimistic.
  • We don’t believe there is a template for how to create a March. Be sure to get your permits and start working on insurance early. But our success was because it was a completely grass-roots effort, and so the work, the inspiration, and the shape of the March needs to come from each organizing group organically. We were able to organize, fundraise and create the March in one wild and crazy month.
  • We were fortunate to have an amazing group of volunteers staffing media relations and they made sure our March received tremendous pre-event and day-of press. We were covered in over 620 media outlets!
  • We viewed this March as a large-scale, site-specific, one-day-only production and took careful consideration of the optics. The March itself was a silent March with participants holding placards bearing 1000 names of individuals whose lives were lost from gun violence. Music and theater played an important role in the rally and be sure your speakers are inspirational. Our were from the worlds of politics, activists, artists and organizers.
  • Working independent of any organization allowed us to achieve goals quickly as there was neither bureaucracy nor red tape to cut through.

As we wrote after the March, we will memorialize our Facebook and other online pages at the end of February. Our intention was never to create another organization; rather we hope to transition your involvement to other organizations.

This is a real honest to god movement in cities all over the country—it’s moved from a wave to a tsunami.

Carry on!

Molly & Suzanne

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