The fight for common-senses gun reform has proven itself a long-haul uphill battle. It can be down right daunting and, often times, disheartening. As parents who want long-term and immediate safety for our children, the contentious situation frequently seems hopeless and any progress made rarely feels tangible or measurable. I admit I wallowed a bit this week in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. But you know what snapped me out of my pity party? The incredibly brave and heroic survivors--teenagers and teachers--who emerged as activists and advocates. Yes, these fired up children are furious and impassioned and absolutely inspiring. And so are the moms who, nationwide, work tirelessly to demand change.
One mom giving us hope and inspiration: Ria Browne, a Brooklyn mom and the powerhouse force behind the #SafetyinNumbers social media movement. She's making a difference one @Everytown Instagram follower at a time (yes, measurable results!).
"I created this campaign so that we could all be united in one powerful group to fight the gun lobby, namely the NRA. There is strength in numbers! I used the the hashtag #safetyinnumbers because safety is what we’re fighting for. I’ve been really actively supporting Everytown for Gun Safety for a number of years, and they have made amazing progress, but the fight for common sense gun reform can be so disheartening with all the shootings that keep happening. I wanted to reach out to others all over the country and show them the good work Everytown is doing and the information and tools they can use to get involved. The NRA operates with laser focus and we need to act as a streamlined force as well," Browne told us.
And so we march onwards with lofty goals and laser focus. We reached out to Browne for some inspiration to help overwhelmed moms, parents, and humans navigate this uprising.
1. Educate Yourself: "Go to Everytown.org and learn! There are so many misunderstandings about common sense gun law reform - most people in America support things like universal background checks but the gun lobby would have you think that we are trying to abolish the 2nd amendment. We are not. If studying seems overwhelming, watch the documentary “Under the Gun” by Katie Couric. It gives excellent insight into the gun movement.."
2. Stay Up to Date: While you're at it, be sure to always engage with the latest initiatives. follow @Everytown and @MomsDemand on Instagram and other social media sites. "Everytown is the strongest gun reform organization in the country and Mom’s operates under it," Browne explains. Following them on Instagram is one way to stay in the know and up to date on the latest news, events, actionable tasks, and movements. Plus, #thesafetyinnumbers campaign now seeks to get @Everytown to 1 million followers, after surpassing the NRA's following earlier this week.
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"I’ve heard from so many people that #safetyinnumbers has given them hope because they can actually see in real time how the movement is growing. The followers have real agency about growing this movement! It’s incredible. We are now pushing to reach 1 million, but I’m sure we will surpass that," Browne says.
2. Keep Up the Conversation: Let's agree to not move on, okay? Let's, instead, keep up the momentum and continue the conversation. "Social media makes this very easy; and don’t ignore the people who disagree with you. Engage with them respectfully. They want to be heard just as much as we do. We need to have civilized conversations with gun holders because most of them don’t realize what common sense gun reform is," Browne says.
3. Sign Up for a Local Moms Demand Action Chapter: Meet likeminded moms in your community, and find lots of regional opportunities to rally, volunteer, and educate. If there are no local events in your area, they offer other ways to get involved.
4. Join a March: Created by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the March for Our Lives is a massive movement coming to DC on March 24. Students, teachers, parents, and people will march together in the Capital and at sister marches throughout the country. Unity on one day for one common cause.
5. Donate: Whatever you can--every little bit makes a difference. "If all of the above seems like too much, donate money to Everytown! They are a smart and tactical, and everyone in the organization works so hard. They need our support!," Browne says.