The March for Our Lives (MFOL) organization was founded after the Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Founded by students demanding stricter gun laws and an end to school shootings in the U.S. MFOL hosted a march to protest in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2018.
Problems and Purpose
The March for Our Lives organization was created with the purpose of rallying young people to engage and direct their actions towards the elimination of gun violence in the United States. Since February 14, 2018, there have been 139 school shootings where at least one person was injured or killed . The number only grows when evaluating the gun violence epidemic in this country as a whole, such as mass shootings. The march on Washington D.C. in 2018, was intended to showcase the anger, hurt, and desperation of young people, who demand safe schools, an end to the gun violence epidemic and common sense gun legislation to affect the changes .
Background History and Context
School shootings, mass shootings, and general gun violence have increased since the repeal of the 1994 ban on assault weapons . Unfortunately, the connection of the repeal of this ban to the rise in gun violence is clear, as a majority of school and mass shootings are committed with an assault weapon . The March for Our Lives organization started in the aftermath of a fatal school shooting in Parkland, Florida which killed 17 and injured an additional 17 students, teachers, and faculty . In the days following the tragic event, students gathered together for support and planning. These students spent the months following the shooting writing up draft proposals, visiting Florida legislators' offices and the capitol building pushing lawmakers to take drastic measures to stop gun violence in schools and around the country. The Washington D.C. march on March 25, 2018 was the first of many shows of strength and determination among this youth-led movement.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
March for Our Lives began in the living rooms of parents and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The organization lists 28 student founders on its website, but has since expanded to have a full-time staff . The majority of staff and volunteers, even today, are young and affected by gun violence and the fear or reality of school shootings. The organization’s Executive Director as of this year, Dr. Lamia El-Sadek, along with about half of the Board Members, are the only employees at the headquarter location who are not young professionals with personal connections to the shootings . MFOL gained traction in the media and on social media when students began posting and telling people that they were organizing the Washington D.C. march. March for Our Lives received hundreds of thousands of small donations on their GoFundme ‘March for Our Lives Action Fund,’ raising an impressive three million dollars in less than a month of founding . The organization also received sizable donations from celebrities, like Ellen DeGeneres, companies, like Gucci, and not-for-profit organizations, like Everytown for Gun Safety, to support the costs of the Washington D.C. march and the organization’s later policy initiatives [2, 10].
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The March for Our Lives march in Washington D.C. recruited young people from across the country through social media, traditional broadcast media, and rallies in the weeks leading up to March 24, 2018  The Washington D.C. march is estimated to have had numbers around or above 800,000 people, with thousands more participating in sibling marches around the country . As the March for Our Lives movement grew, more chapters were started and within about a year, MFOL had chapters in every state . Participants chose to participate in the event because they want to work towards safer schools, an end to the gun violence epidemic and common sense gun legislation to affect the changes . There are now over 200 chapters across the country, and more around the world . Participation in this event, as well as the sibling marches, was open to any and all who could attend.
Methods and Tools Used
David Hogg, one of the original organizers, alongside other classmates, took to the media on the very same night they had endured the school shooting. Hogg asserted that this shooting would not be like the others, where politicians and the media turn shootings and murders into “dog and pony shows'' . These 28 founders, all under the age of 20 years old, learned how to effectively use social media to spread their message of non-partisan common sense gun laws . Additionally, Hogg and other founders participated in numerous broadcast television interviews prior to the march . These young students were able to reach patrons across the world, and inspired millions to join in on the fight against gun violence. MFOL’s main method is demonstrations; this organization has an ability to gather youth from across the country to demand a better and safer society. This youth-led movement has made tidal waves in the fight for common sense gun legislation mainly through spreading the word of their actions all over social media.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
On March 24, 2018, nearly one million people, a majority of whom were teenagers and younger, marched down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol to call for an end to school shootings and the gun violence epidemic in America . Many of the March for Our Lives’ founders spoke at the march, telling personal stories and encouraging young people to stay informed and active in their communities when it comes to voting and holding elected officials accountable . Participation in this event, as well as the sibling marches, was open to any and all who could attend. Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, Yolanda King, who was only nine years old at the time, spoke at the march; similarly to her grandfather she proclaimed, “I have a dream that enough is enough” highlighting the need for a gun violence free country and world . Powerful, moving moments like this one continued throughout the duration of the event. Student Survivors, parents of students who did not survive, celebrities, and lawmakers came together to proclaim solidarity and demand an end to school shootings that claim so many lives every year . Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland survivor, led the entire crowd in a 6-minute period of silence to represent the length of time it took the shooter to murder students and teachers before being stopped . These speakers were chosen for the impact their stories have when they share what they have endured at the hands of the gun violence epidemic in the United States today; many of these speakers were under the age of 18 years old. The entire event was live streamed via social media. 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Since the Washington D.C. march, MFOL released a policy plan in 2021 titled It Ends With Us: A Plan to Reimagine Public Safety, which outlines the organizational goals and objectives related to gun violence . The organization also organized a National School Walkout on April 20, 2018 where students from around the country walked out of their classrooms in protest of school shootings and gun violence that affects their everyday lives . MFOL’s 2020 impact report states that the organization has also helped register over 200,000 young voters in the 2018 midterm elections, with hundreds of thousands more since . The organization, since the march in Washington D.C., has continued to spread its message through social media, interviews, rallies, and policy initiatives. Additionally, March for Our Lives has helped successfully pass laws aimed at gun violence prevention . One example is the newly enacted Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed less than two weeks after MFOL has a second march on Washington D.C. in June of 2022 . The 2nd March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. happened as a result of “back-to-back mass shootings…across the U.S.,” according to the MFOL website . The organization’s ultimate goal is to aid in ending school shootings in this country and employing lawmakers to pass common sense gun laws that protect Americans .
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Even though March for Our Lives inspired an entire generation of young people to organize and advocate for better gun laws, the epidemic of gun violence in America remains, and some lawmakers are working to remove current gun laws, making it easier for people to purchase deadly assault weapons.  Therefore, while March for Our Lives has been successful so far at not allowing their voices to be silenced and forcing lawmakers to listen, much more will need to be done in order to make a significant, positive change around the gun violence epidemic in this country. MFOL’s approach lends itself towards that of Lipmanowicz & McCandless’ Liberating Structure of Dialogue model .
 Markham, M. (2021). It ends with us: A plan to reimagine public safety. Washington D.C.; March for Our Lives. https://marchforourlives.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/It-Ends-With-Us-March-For-Our-Lives.pdf.
 Gray, S. (2018, March 23). The March for Our Lives protest is this Saturday: Here’s everything to know. Time. https://time.com/5167102/march-for-our-lives-parkland-school-shooting-protest/.
 Jones, M. (2018, December). March for Our Lives Student activists showed us how to find meaning in tragedy. Smithsonian Mag. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/march-for-our-lives-student-activists-showed-meaning-tragedy-180970717/.
 Hogenmiller, M. (2021). March for Our Lives 2020 Impact Report (pp. 1–19). Brooklyn, NY. https://marchforourlives.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/March-For-Our-Lives_2020-Impact-Report.pdf.
 McClain, M. (2018, March 25). Students protest gun violence in D.C. March for our lives. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/students-protest-gun-violence-in-dc-march/2018/03/24/39995b0c-2fcf-11e8-8688-e053ba58f1e4_story.html.
 Lipmanowicz, H., & McCandless, K. (2013). The surprising power of liberating structures: Simple rules to unleash a culture of innovation. Seattle, WA: Liberating Structures Press, pp. 10-11, 21-30.
 Education Week. (2022, October 31). School shootings over time: Incidents, injuries, and deaths. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-over-time-incidents-injuries-and-deaths
 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, 117 U.S.C., § S.2938 et seq. (2022)
 Congressional Research Service, & Chu, V. S., Federal assault weapons ban: Legal issues. 1–14 (2013). United States Congress.
 Press. (2018, March 6). 'March for our lives' sibling marches to be held across the U.S. and globally. Moms Demand Action. https://momsdemandaction.org/march-for-our-lives-sibling-marches-to-be-held-across-the-u-s-and-globally/
 USA Today. (n.d.) Watch: Thousands rally against gun violence at March for Our Lives protest in Washington, DC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enPVElbGtz0
The first version of this case entry was written by Katlee Taylor-Freasier, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and then edited. The views expressed in the entry are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.