Things That Matter

Thousands Took To The Streets In Washington And Across The Country To Join The March For Our Lives Revolution

Welcome to the revolution.”

With those four words, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky began the historic March For Our Lives rally in Washington. It’s estimated that at least half a million people gathered in D.C. today with more than 800 related marches happening throughout the country. According to organizers, every state in the America, and every continent except for Antarctica hosted a march in support of gun reform. 

“Look around you,” Kasky said. “We are the change.”

The streets of Washington were filled with young people demonstrating their desire for gun reform.

CREDIT: Facebook/March for our Lives

The protest in Washing — which Parkland students began to plan on the very day they lost 17 of their classmates — has become an undeniable movement who’s message for gun reform will not dim until they see effective change.

The students have been organizing, fundraising, and productively using social media as a tool for a call to action, which has inspired countless to join the fight for gun reform along with them.

Edna Chavez, a 17-year-old from south Los Angeles, was one of the 20 speakers at the rally in Washington.

Here is Chavez’s powerful speech that you will likely see spreading everywhere.

The senior from Manual Arts High School spoke loudly and proudly of her family, her heritage and her hometown. She spoke about her involvement with the Community Coalition organization who has shaped her to be an activist of gun reform after her older brother, Ricardo, died as a result to gun violence.

“That’s why I got involved,” Chavez told the crowd. “I wanted to impact policies and make sure our voices are heard.”

“I am a youth leader,” she added. “I am a survivor.”

Through tears, Chavez went on to speak about her the trauma and the anxiety she has experienced in the aftermath of her brother’s death, which has impacted her entire family.

“You see the melanin on your brother’s skin turn grey,” Chavez said when speaking about her brother’s death.

On the eve of the protest, David Hogg — one of the most vocal leaders from Marjory Stoneman — was asked by Axios what success looked like for him and his classmates. To that complex question, Hogg said: “Simply, a lot of Americans coming out and becoming politically active. This is the start of our marathon.”

People marched and chanted for gun reform.

Just as the Women’s March motivated thousands to attend their inaugural gathering in Washington, the Parkland students have done the same but in a very short amount of time. They garnered support from the Obamas, George Clooney, Oprah, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West (who attended the Washington event) and many more celebrities who all contributed to their fund. As of today, March For Our Lives has generated $3.4 million dollars.

Today’s rally also included musical performances by Ariana Grande, Common, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, and Vic Mensa.

Demi Lovato performed “Skyscraper” between speakers to show her support of the young people seeking change.

Lovato was one of the first celebrities to reach out to Parkland students and lend her support.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt also performed their new mashup single “Found/Tonight.”

Because the march was so detailed in its planning — which included an app that provided information on the event — the city said they’ve been preparing for this for weeks.

“As the young men and women from Parkland, Florida, have been preparing for Saturday’s event, the District has been preparing to keep them safe here in Washington,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said to The Washington Post.

The crowd represented the intersectionality of all the communities impacted by gun violence.

The New York Times reports that counter-protests in support of gun rights would also be taking place in Salt Lake City, Greenville, South Carolina and Helena, Montana.

Emma González used her voice to keep people motivated in the demonstration that last hours in the nation’s capitol.

Undeniably, Emma Gonzalez has become the face and voice of the movement for gun law reform. She has been the outspoken victim of Parkland who is fighting the loudest.

In an essay in Teen Vogue, the 18-year-old high school senior was very direct about their demands.

“We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system,” Gonzalez writes.

Organizers want the march to increase voter registration among the younger attendees. Protesters, many of which attended the National Walk Out Day on March 14, have threatened GOP lawmakers that if they don’t make changes to the country’s gun laws they will “vote them out.”

The crowd was not shy about calling for people to make it to the polls in November.

“I want an incredibly large voter registration turnout,” González told MSNBC. “I want people who don’t understand what we’re feeling to come away from this thinking, ‘I might understand this.'”

The march in Washington was accompanied by hundreds of sister marches across the world on 6 continents.

Here’s some scenes of today’s historic March For Our Lives throughout the country and worldwide.

CREDIT: Twitter/@FoxNews

Houston

ABC13 reports that thousands attended the rally at Tranquility Park near City Hall.

Miami

CREDIT: Twitter/Victor Oquendo

Hundreds of thousands attended various rallies held in Miami and in South Florida, according to CBS Miami.

Nashville

An estimated, 10,000 people descended in downtown Nashville and marched to the Davidson County Courthouse, WSMV reports.

Raleigh, NC

Los Angeles

It’s being projected that 60,000 people will take to the streets of Los Angeles demanding gun control.

Chicago

Thousands gathered in Union Park in downtown Chicago.

San Francisco

Hundreds of thousands gathered in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

New York City

Hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of New York City, which included many famous faces.

“One of my best friends was killed by gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me not just to march today but to take action tomorrow and to have these people to have their voices heard,” Paul McCartney said on CNN.

People are taking to social media to express why they want gun reform.

Many want gun reform so they can live without fear of being killed.

And teachers don’t want to live in constant fear with their students.

Did you march today? If so, share your videos and pictures on social media with #Latinos4GunReform.


READ: Here’s How High School Students Across The Country Used Their Voices To Demonstrate For Gun Control

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Prosecutors Have Launched An Investigation On The White Couple Pointing Guns At St. Louis Protesters

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Prosecutors Have Launched An Investigation On The White Couple Pointing Guns At St. Louis Protesters

@xshularx/ Twitter

Update: A Change.Org petition is asking for the McCloskeys to be disbarred after pointing guns at protesters. The scene from a BLM protest has become a visual representation of the racial tensions in the U.S. as the white couple aimed weapons at people of color peacefully protesting.

The McCloskeys neighbors have released an open letter denouncing them and their actions.

“Some of us choose to speak up following horrific events that transpired on Sunday evening near our homes,” reads the letter denouncing the horrific actions of the couple. “As the undersigned, we condemn the behavior of anyone who uses threats of violence, especially through the brandishing of firearms, to disrupt peaceful protest, whether it be in this neighborhood or anywhere in the United States.”

There is also a growing petition to have the two disbarred.

A quick online search shows that the McCloskeys have taken down their law firm’s website. It hasn’t made people forget that they are attorneys and broke Missouri law when aiming the firearms are protesters.

“The look in her eyes speaks volumes,” reads the Change.Org petition. “They need to be held accountable. Brandishing a weapon with intent (as clearly displayed in this photo) is a criminal offense when you are not in direct danger.”

Updated June 30, 2020.

Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner confirmed earlier this week that her office is collaborating with the police to investigate recent incident which saw a white couple waving guns at protestors over the weekend.

The middle-aged white couple became the fun, new, and trending Twitter hashtag on Sunday after they had been spotted wielding guns at protesters outside their home in St. Louis. Soon after the images of them began circulating Twitter dubbed them “Ken and Karen” and the stars of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” remake no one asked for. The incident occurred as protesters marched their way towards the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The protesters demanded her resignation after she went public with the names and addresses of activists in a Facebook Live video on Friday.

Video of the incident, which took place on Sunday, shows the couple waving their guns outside their mansion.

The couple in the video, who appears to be dressed in their very bland versions of their Sunday best’s: a pink polo and khaki pants paired with an assault rifle for him and a striped T-shirt and capris with a handgun for her, have been identified by police as Mark McCloskey, 63 years old, and Patricia McCloskey, 61 years-old.

The pair can be seen screaming and shouting at protesters while pointing their guns at them. According to reports, the woman can be seen holding her finger on the trigger.

BuzzFeed reports that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department identified the couple as victims in their police report. The statement asserts that the couple contacted police “when they heard a loud commotion coming from the street” and “observed a large group of subjects forcefully break an iron gate marked with ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Street’ signs.”

In the report made to the police, the couple claimed protesters were “yelling obscenities and threats of harm to both victims” and that they took out their guns once they saw “multiple subjects who were armed.” Police did not say confirm the couple’s claim or indicate that there was evidence to prove protesters threatened or aimed guns at the couple.

The incident is a reminder of Missouri’s loose gun laws that permit the carrying of concealed weapons without background checks or permits.

The protests sparked after Krewson appeared in a now-deleted Facebook Live video on Friday.

In the video Krewson declared that she would not support = rising calls to defund the police. She also reportedly shared activists’ full names and addresses while reading off suggestions on how to better spend the city’s funds. After users ridiculed her online, Krewson apologized for her actions saying “Never did I intend to harm anyone or cause distress,” Krewson tweeted. “The update is removed and again, I apologize.”

In response to her decision to out activist and put them in harm’s way, local leaders and organizations called for her to resign. Over 45,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding her resignation condemning her as “a risk for the safety and well being of the general St. Louis population.”

In a statement about the incident, Gardner asserted the right to peacefully protest.

“I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault,” Gardner said in a statement. “We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”

Albert Watkins, the McCloskeys’ attorney, told USA TODAY in an interview that the circuit attorney is not “possessed of the legal wherewithal to understand some of these fundamental tenets.” He went onto lambast the notion that his clients acted unlawfully calling the suggestion “one which would demonstrate unequivocally the wholesale absence of appreciation for longstanding law in the state of Missouri.”

In an odd twist, Watkins has also asserted that the McCloskeys are actually lawyers who have worked on civil rights cases and are supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. Speaking about their actions on Sunday, Watkins said that their decision to bring out their guns was sparked by “abject fear of imminent harm” but they were not race-related.

Big Brands Drop Ads From Facebook To Demand The Platform To Join Fight Against Hate Speech

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Big Brands Drop Ads From Facebook To Demand The Platform To Join Fight Against Hate Speech

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Update June 29, 2020: The boycott on Facebook ads is growing faster than ever and reaching a global level. The growing demand for Facebook to target and handle hate speech and extremism on its platform has led to a far-reaching boycott of ads on the social media site.

The boycott of Facebook ads is going global.

Since the boycott was announced earlier this month, 160 companies have joined the #StopHateforProfit boycott targeting Facebook. Two major companies, Coca-Cola and Starbucks, say they are not part of the boycott. However, the two companies have announced that they will be pausing all ads on social media platforms for the month of July.

Starbucks is not officially part of the #StopHateforProfit movement but the decision is being praised by advocates.

The boycott is having a very real impact on Facebook’s business. Facebook stock lost more than $60 billion in value as more and more businesses cut advertising ties with the social media platform. The 9 percent drop in Facebook’s market prices prompted Facebook executives to begin tweaking some policies to go after hate speech.

Original: Facebook is in trouble as several major brands pull their ads from the social media platform. The coordinated move from the brands was in response to Facebook’s intentional inaction in curbing hate speech on the platform.

Facebook is facing financial troubles as major brands pull ads over the platform’s stance on hate speech.

The NAACP teamed up with other organizations to create the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. The campaign is aimed at Facebook and is calling on brands to separate from the social media platform for at least one month, July. The point of the campaign is to call out Facebook for their willingness to profit off of organizations that disseminate and amplify white nationalist rhetoric. Some of the rhetoric has been racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and violent in nature.

“For five years, Color Of Change has called on Facebook to do the right thing and make their platform safer for the millions of Black people that use it,” reads a statement on the Color Of Change website. “From the monetization of hate speech to discrimination in their algorithms to the proliferation of voter suppression to the silencing of Black voices, Facebook has refused to take responsibility for hate, bias, and discrimination growing on their platforms.”

Brands are responding and pulling their ads from Facebook.

Recently, Verizon and Unilever joined the growing list of businesses pulling ads to stand up to Facebook’s monetization of hate speech. People have been demanding that Facebook do something to control the hate speech that has incited violence in recent years. Yet, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, refuses to curb the violent speech on the platform.

The Anti-Defamation League laid out the reasons they are calling for the boycott.

The ADL is calling on brands to drop Facebook ads to combat what is considered as a long history of amplifying hate speech. According to the league, the social media platform routinely recommends extremist pages to users, created a loophole to allow for climate change deniers to push anti-science conspriacy theories further, and, in one example, Facebook refused to take down Holocaust denial content.

The social media platform has long been criticized for allowing misinformation to manipulate elections around the world.

Cambridge Analytica is one of the most famous cases of this happening. In the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack,” dives deep into how the firm was able to use Facebook to spread intentional misinformation to sway elections around the world. People who worked for the tech firm testified that they were able to use Facebook to target individuals who could be swayed with false information to illicit a vote for their client. It happened in several countries, including the U.S. in the 2016 elections and the U.K. during the Brexit vote.

Facebook has so far decided to remain defiant in the face of calls to do better.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is not going to be changing their policies. Instead, the company is going to keep pushing forward with its current strategy of monetizing and helping to spread the extremist and dangerous rhetoric.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Carolyn Everson, the vice president of Global Business Group at Facebook, said, “We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure.” She continued: “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

READ: ICE Is Using Fake Facebook Accounts To Entrap Migrants Even Though Facebook Has Warned The Government To Stop