It comes as no surprise that activism in any form is challenging. Activists face emotional and sometimes physical roadblocks that prevent progress. However, making your voice heard is also very rewarding and can have monumental effects that change the world.
There are many forms of activism. I consider myself to be a gun violence prevention (GVP) advocate who strives to make communities safer and bring about legislative change in the field of public health and safety. I spoke with other GVP activists to hear their thoughts on the work they do and what it’s really like behind what you see on social media.
How did you get started with GVP activism?
Logan Rubenstein: “I got started with GVP a couple months ago. But it all stemmed from the Parkland shooting. I live in Parkland and was in 8th grade when the shooting happened. Ever since then I’ve been interested and have been using my voice to fight for gun reform.
I went to almost every GVP event in my community and started to build connections with people like Lauren Hogg. You couldn’t believe how much a simple question like ‘Hey, I’m a freshman at Douglas, how can I get involved?’ can help. Now, I’ve worked my way up and am the Executive Director of MFOL Parkland.”
Courtney Ring: “I got started after Parkland when my school had a walk out and I just got up and spoke.”
What do you like most about the activism you do? What do you least like?
Logan: “What I like most about activism is using my voice to push for legislation that will save lives. Over the last year and a half, I’ve researched and spoken out on gun violence. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a difference in your country.
What I like least is that not everyone gets a fair shot at getting their point across. Sometimes discussions get caught up in politics and turn into arguments.”
Courtney: “I love the people I work with, the people I work for, and the cause that I believe in. I love doing something that will change and save lives and meeting people who feel and think with the same passion.”
Have you faced any judgment or misconceptions from activism?
Logan: “I have faced some judgment from activism. I post a lot about politics on social media and some of my friends get turned off by it. This is my passion and what I’m focused on, so I try to ignore it the best I can.”
Courtney: “I’ve faced little judgment honestly, most people I talk to about the cause are at least a little in agreement. However, I do face many misconceptions. I think most assume I’m fighting for certain things or think certain ways, but there’s just one goal and it’s to save lives. It’s hard to fight the misconceptions about not just my work, but about people my age as well.”
What is your advice for someone looking to get involved?
Logan: “Join your local March For Our Lives club; or if there isn’t one, start your own. The most efficient and purposeful change is on the local level.”
Courtney: “Know your limit and know your interest. You might think you have all the time in the world… but the truth is that you should limit the time you’re involved and be aware of the commitment to something that likely isn’t paid or doesn’t pay well and do something you like. Maybe you don’t like interacting with people, maybe you’d rather do research or find an organization that works with politicians. Doing both of these things will help prevent burnout.”
A big thank you to both Courtney and Logan for dedicating their time to answering some questions on GVP activism. Clearly, activism has many facets beyond what is seen on social media.
You can follow Courtney’s Twitter here and Logan’s Twitter here.
Looking for a local March For Our Lives chapter? Click here.