#NeverAgain: The Words That Started A Movement
Public Relations and Advertising campaigns have without a doubt, contributed a lot to our society. Especially in today’s day and age, we are constantly surrounded by television, social networks, and other forms of media. Marketers are always using these platforms to push their products with a goal of creating a positive social buzz and a successful campaign.
Often times, we hear about the campaigns that have a negative impact and that in turn create turmoil in our society. These campaigns are often utilized to show marketers and young professionals what not to do. While there are many negative campaigns, it is important to highlight a successful example in which high school students worked with Public Relations professionals and news outlets to use their voice to market a campaign that showcases a difference in our country and begs for change.
In February of 2018, disaster and tragedy once again struck our country in the form of another mass shooting. Occuring at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, nineteen year old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed seventeen people and injured seventeen more.
Following the tragedy, many students decided that enough was enough. Cameron Kasky, was one of those students. Kasky and other students did not want Parkland to be just another incident and did not believe that “thoughts and prayers” would be enough. He and a handful of other students quickly formed the #NeverAgain initiative that created social buzz, legal action,
and global attention. This campaign has been proven successful many times throughout the last year. The #NeverAgain campaign was formed with one initial goal, to assure that no other communities would have to feel this pain in the future.
What made it successful? Many could argue that the support of national outlets, agencies, and celebrities gave it the attention that it needed. However, the most monumental aspect of this campaign was the grassroots effort that started with the students directly affected. The tremendous heartbreak and devastation Kasky and his classmates experienced allowed them to be closest to the cause and that shows throughout their campaign. These teenagers are able to use their voice to make a difference and people are listening. While they may have gotten access to National news outlets and other resources, they are the ones advocating for change and using their story as the face of this campaign.
While the main goal of this campaign was to raise awareness and strengthen gun laws, it did so much more than that, by tackling the struggles of our Government as a whole and the internal issues within it. This campaign also tackled the issues of systematic racism that occur within the United States. Systematic racism can be showcased as both a theoretical concept and a reality in today’s society. As a theory, systematic racism is defined as the concepts and ways of life that was cause for the United States to be founded on a racist foundation. This historical background has caused issues in today’s society that all theoretically stemmed from the creation of our nation. Many people in society uses circumstances and beliefs from the past to continue to stereotype and profile minorities. In addition to profiling minorities, systematic racism also allows for white people to be held at a higher standard. Today, these issues have become a reality.
The Parkland shooting and mass shootings in general are often examples of systematic racism. In the weeks following the shooting, headlines described the suspect Nikolas Cruz as “obsessed with guns” or “unstable” among many other characteristics. However, very few articles mentions Cruz’s race. Often times, with African American suspects the headlines are filled with race related descriptors and few, if any excuses are given for their actions. While actions like these are unforgivable no matter what, our society often makes the actions of white people based off of other reasons, ones not related to race.
In addition to the profiling that occurs with minorities that take the place of other descriptions, politics today have impacted systematic racism. Gun control laws are a huge topic in our nation, however many conservatives believe that guns obtained legally are not the issue and that many gun related incidents occur through illegally obtained guns and even illegal immigrants. However, the Parkland shooter was a United States citizen who had legally purchased an AR-15 at a local gun store. Less than a year later, this weapon was used in the shooting. The Parkland incident is one of many that prove one does not have to be a minority or have an illegal weapon to commit a crime.
While the #NeverAgain movement focused more on strengthening gun laws and raising money for the March for our Lives campaign, it had an underlying success. By focusing on the need to increase restrictions when it comes to purchasing firearms, the #NeverAgain movement drew attention to the many tragedies that have occurred through legal weapons and often by white people.
The organizers behind the movement have used many tactics to work and achieve many different goals. The teenangers were able to divide among different causes and work with
legislators, the community, celebrities, and news outlets to make a difference. Each one of these groups played a role in the success of their campaign. Working with legislators have allowed the possibility of stricter restrictions to be put in place. The students from Parkland were the best advocates for the city in their time of need and were able to use celebrities to increase the movement and create different Marches for our Lives across the nation. Finally, the continuous coverage on a local and national level allowed the students to draw out the news cycle and have the attention as the launched this movement. All of these factors and more assisted with a successful campaign.
A behind the scenes look at the #NeverAgain MDS Movement
Video courtesy of CBS Miami