How do you organize a generation? How do you coordinate millions of young people focused on one of the most important issues of our day? How do you mobilize them and let them know that their time is now? You engage in every way you can with a fierce perseverance, because the stakes couldn’t be higher.
A year ago on February 18, four days after the mass shooting at our high school, we announced the March For Our Lives, an international demonstration that would ultimately involve nearly a million people from around the world demanding action to end gun violence in our communities.
We knew then, as we know now, that the voices of young people must be heard. Since the March, we have been dedicated to creating a space so all of us could send a message that we must do something about our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
Today, March For Our Lives takes another step in our effort to engage the public and to keep the gun violence prevention movement front and center. For the next two weeks, a series of billboards in Times Square will remind Americans that we must come together to save lives.
Over the next 14 days, this unifying message will reach nearly five and a half million people.
The billboard campaign is part of a much larger effort that has expanded our movement throughout the country. We’ve taken our message across the nation, and used social media platforms and media outlets to reach new groups of young people to let them know their voice matters and we need their help. We’ve made an active commitment to deliver our message to people in the most powerful positions in our country in order to change our nation’s laws.
We’ve protested in front of Congress, targeted influencers across the country, developed QR-coded t-shirts to register voters, filled Congressional hearing rooms with hundreds of students, and used SMS to organize supporters and drive Get Out The Vote efforts (Text SAVE LIVES to 954-954).
And just last month, we went to the U.S. Capitol to send a clear and powerful message to our nation’s leaders: Your Complacency Kills Us.
Last year, nearly 40,000 people were killed by gun violence in America. Even more striking is the fact that students are more likely to be killed by guns than police officers and members of the military.
These staggering statistics are hard to comprehend. If we are to succeed and put an end to these very preventable deaths, we have to be unconventional in our thinking and how we connect with communities all over the country.
Our generation is not only ready to have these discussions, it has been doing the work in Washington, D.C., in state capitals, in schools, and anywhere people are willing to take a stand.
The Times Square billboards are meant to reach people from around the world in an impactful way, and like all of our messages, they are meant to be accessible to those willing to fight for safer communities, schools, concert venues, places of worship, and everywhere the threat of gun violence exists.
We firmly believe we will be the generation to usher in these changes and to end preventable gun deaths. We have a message that people need to hear, and we will continue to work with young people wherever they are. We are tired of attending funerals instead of graduations, and we know there are millions of Americans who agree.
We’re not just saying enough is enough. We’re doing everything we can to make it happen.
Brendan Duff and Lauren Hogg, who also contributed to this article, were two of the co-founders of March for Our Lives and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.