On Saturday, June 2nd, StudentsMarch.org will be recognizing National Gun Violence Awareness Day with the launch of its #WeAreThe97 campaign in support of the 97% of American voters that support universal background checks*.
StudentsMarch.org is championing the passage of universal background checks because they believe it is the first step toward comprehensive, common sense gun reform. Partners and advocates from across the country will encourage their fellow Americans to contact their elected representatives through the StudentsMarch.org website whose platform has made this process simple and seamless. Elected officials are asked to show their solidarity through social media posts that articulate their support using #WeAreThe97. The 97-day campaign will culminate on September 7th (9/7) with a comprehensive list of elected officials who support and oppose universal background checks heading into the Midterm Elections on November 6th.
Organizations and leaders from across the country have come together to support the call for universal background checks:
“Some legislators in Congress claim there is no room for reform despite 97% of American voters’ support of universal background checks. StudentsMarch.org is working with us to do the important work of identifying who stands with us and who doesn’t through their #WeAreThe97 campaign, and I’m proud to be a part of this effort. The young people will win.”
-David Hogg, senior at MSD High School
“Our son, Joaquin, is never coming back. But we’re fighting for everyone else’s children--whether at school or walking down the street--we cannot continue allowing gun violence to take away our loved ones all across the country. Change the Ref is proud to partner with StudentsMarch.org as they call on elected officials to answer one simple question--do you stand with the 97, or do you stand with those who put profits over human lives? We are a part of the 97% who support universal background checks and will honor our son’s memory and the countless lives lost by continuing to fight for change.”
-Manuel and Patricia Oliver, Parents of Joaquin Oliver from MSD High School and founders of Change the Ref
"Students Demand Action, Plano supports Universal Background Checks because we refuse to see more of our peers and our fellow Americans die. This is a prevention strategy that is not only reasonable but life-saving."
-Students Demand Action, Plano
"We already know that background checks are effective as evidenced in states like Connecticut where a 40% reduction in gun homicides resulted after background checks were instituted and Missouri where gun homicides rose 25% after background check law was repealed in 2007. In states that require background checks, there is a 47% lower rate of women being killed with a gun by an intimate partner, 53% lower rate of law enforcement being shot, 47% lower rate of suicide with firearm and intrastate trafficking of guns is 48% lower."
-Moms Demand Action, Dallas
"As an organization that spent the last 20 years working to end gun violence, particularly predatory youth violence in urban communities, we believe something as simple as requiring background checks on purchasing of guns could go a long way in preventing more young people from experiencing loss of life due to guns ending up in the wrong hands. Our mission is to stop the senseless violence committed with guns."
-Antong Lucky, Director of Invasion Strategies at Urban Specialists
“When I was seven years old, I was held at gunpoint and thought my life was over. I survived, but others haven’t. I stayed quiet for a large part of my life in hopes that our elected officials would do something, but that clearly has not been the case. It’s imperative that citizens have a dialogue with elected officials and candidates about basic reforms like universal background checks in order to better understand who truly believes in serving and protecting its citizens.
-Waed Alhayek, Executive Director of StudentsMarch.org
StudentsMarch.org is a student-led organization created by the organizers of the March For Our Lives - Dallas. The studetns realized that marching should not be the finish-line for activism; rather, it must be the launching pad for sustained advocacy. StudentsMarch.org is channeling the momentum from marches into movements and supporting meaningful political reforms. We hope you’ll join us as we organize and speak truth to power.
National Gun Violence Awareness day, June 2nd, was inspired by a group of Chicago teens whose classmate, Hadiya Pendleton, was shot and killed in 2013. They honored her death by calling for people to join them in wearing orange, the color commonly used by hunters to protect their lives. Orange has been marked as a color that represents the value of human life, and has since been reclaimed by the gun violence awareness community to honor the lives of those who have senselessly died because of gun violence.
*Support for Universal Background Checks-According to a Quinnipiac poll from earlier this year, 97% of Americans - including gun owners - support universal background checks.