Posted on April 12, 2023
March For Our Lives is mobilizing young people to vote and protect our communities from gun violence
Born out of a tragic school shooting, our incredible grantee partners at March For Our Lives are leading a courageous youth-led movement dedicated to promoting civic engagement, education, and direct action by youth to eliminate the epidemic of gun violence.
In September 2022, CREDO members voted to donate $28,317 to help MFOL advocate for lifesaving laws at the federal, state, and local levels; advance legal strategies through judicial advocacy in the courts; and turnout young voters in record numbers.
Powered in part by the generosity of CREDO and our members, MFOL had some recent victories and launched some great new initiatives. Here’s a quick rundown from the organization:
Since we received our CREDO grant in September 2022, March For Our Lives has seen tremendous success, particularly surrounding the 2022 Midterm Election.
Thanks in part to the funding from CREDO, we were able to run an aggressive Get Out The Vote program for our third election cycle in a row, to turn out voters ages 18-29 in the 2022 Midterm. We recruited and trained young people to mobilize their peers to the polls through banner drops and phone and text banks.
Our data showed that our GOTV campaign was very effective, turning out independent voters in particular, to vote based on gun safety. Young people turned out in record numbers in 2022, and the youth vote ended up being the key difference maker in razor-thin elections. Youth turnout crested 31% in the 10 most electorally competitive states, compared to only ~20% in pre-2018 elections. Exit polls showed a pronounced shift in Gen-Z and young millennials towards progressive candidates, with our polling showing that youth voting preferences are driven chiefly by concerns about gun violence, abortion, and climate change.
Bold stances by candidates didn’t lose votes, and in fact did the opposite, driving youth support in difference-making elections. These victories were won in no small part because young people were moved by MFOL to take action and see themselves as part of the civic process.
Youth Voter Polling
The last few months have been very busy at MFOL. In addition to the GOTV campaign described above, leading up to the 2022 Midterm, MFOL commissioned a poll by Change Research to survey the state of the field among youth voters. We reconfirmed that for young people under 35, gun violence ranked as a top-three priority, and that more than half of them believe that it isn’t a matter of if, but when they or someone they love will be a victim of gun violence. This information was critical for campaigns because as predicted, young voters were the change makers in this last election cycle. It would behoove candidates to listen to young people’s priorities and align themselves with the fight for gun safety legislation.
To view the full results of our poll, please visit our website: https://marchforourlives.com/2022-poll/
Candidate scorecards on gun violence prevention
Also leading up to the Midterm, our youth-led policy team developed a one-of-a-kind criteria around gun violence prevention to rate candidates and their views in key races across the country. We used our Policy Agenda, “It Ends with Us,” and our five policy priority areas within that to identify what was important to us in determining if a candidate should receive a good or bad grade from us. We rated candidates in Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin.
To learn more, please visit our website: https://marchforourlives.com/scorecards/
When our Senators failed to enact the Assault Weapons Ban that was previously passed in the House, we decided to leak pages from our “Burn Book,” A play on the Burn Book from the iconic “Mean Girls,” our Burn Book campaign put the faces of cowards hiding behind the gun lobby front and center on social media. We had a clear and simple message: If Senators want to be dishonest and corrupt, we will publicly call them out.
Additionally, we have been continuing our federal and state legislation as well as our judicial advocacy work. We’ve identified 13 priority states on which to focus our efforts in 2023. In each priority state, we track key legislation that aligns with our policy priorities, meet with legislators, and join and participate in state-based coalitions. Maintaining detailed records and relationships has allowed us to rapidly deploy our volunteers in each priority state so they can testify against dangerous legislation, show up at hearings, phone bank, rally, or participate in advocacy days. We’ve already had over 25 meetings about passing gun safety legislation this year and look forward to at least tripling that this year! Our judicial team has been hard at work filing amicus briefs that shed light on the victims and survivors of preventable gun tragedies. Like our legislative advocacy work, we use our unique position as a youth-led movement to offer a new way of appealing to courts and juries that differs greatly from those of our peer gun violence prevention organizations. We’re bringing survivors’ voices to the fight in the courts and won’t stop until young people no longer have to fear for their lives.
State Gun Safety Advocacy
Our most recent project has been planning for marking the fifth year since our founding. The week of March 24th, we hosted five rallies in five of our priority states to urge elected officials to pass gun safety legislation (CA, FL, MI, PA, and TX). One notable victory from this organizing is the passage of a package of gun safety legislation in Michigan through both chambers of the legislature after we rallied with MSU students and met with state lawmakers. This legislation would close background check loopholes, enact safe storage requirements, and enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders. We have invited thousands of young people to join us across the country as we show up and call out those in power who have done nothing to prevent these senseless gun violence deaths. For those outside of these priority states, we’ve shared resources on school walkouts to further drive national attention to the gun violence epidemic. We are hopeful that these events will lead to policy change and help build momentum for youth civic engagement as we gear up for 2024.
To view our 2021-2022 Impact Report and learn more about our recent projects, please visit our website: https://impact.marchforourlives.com/
If you’d like to learn more or get involved with MFOL, please visit their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.