From Tragedy to Activism

The tragedy last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School impacted our national discourse in a way quite different than past tragedies. Why? How did the students turn such tragedy into activism and keep the issues of gun violence and school safety alive months after the story disappeared from the front page? Four Marjory Stoneman Douglas students joined us for a fascinating and emotionally compelling conversation.

  • Sari Kaufman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Casey Sherman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Delaney Tarr, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Sofie Whitney, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Kelly McGinnis, SVP & Chief Communications Officer, Levi Strauss (Moderator)

Session Photos



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Panelists discussed the impetus and impact of the March for Our Lives that originated on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

“The students came together on our living room floors in late-night meetings to discuss what we were going to do,” Tarr said. “It became this incredible experience of growth, learning, and our own power. How much we could do as young people?”  

30,000 people attended the march, and organizers registered 1,000 people to vote.





Lessons learned along the way:

“We learned that what’s happening at the state and local level has as equal importance as national, and how to tailor the information in a way that people will grasp it. People don’t always take the time to read and understand it.”

– Sherman

“Young people love woke capitalism. Taking a stance on something, putting a rainbow flag on your product gets people so excited.”

– Tarr

“You need to consider all aspects of the situation before you can come to a knowledgeable conclusion about it. Everyone has a different belief, everyone’s opinions are valid, and if you discount them you lose.”

– Sherman



In their own words:

“It was surprising how people’s perceptions can be driven by the media. My own grandparents asked me if David Hogg was a real student.”

– Tarr

“To be in politics you don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain person. That’s what I‘ve learned and want to show people. Everyone needs to play an active part in democracy.”

– Whitney

“Businesses almost have more influence on people in America than the government does. There’s a way to be honest and help people without having to lose something to do it.”

– Sherman

“It’s important that we come together with business and continue to push this social change through every perspective.”

– Kaufman

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