WASHINGTON— Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund announced the launch of Demand a Seat: Students Edition, a training camp designed specifically to support young people looking to run for office or work on campaigns. The program will empower young people to connect with their peers, build community and actualize the power of Gen Z in an environment designed just for them. As young people continue to be disproportionately impacted by gun violence, they are also leading the fight to end it. Students Demand Action volunteers have been advocating for change at their schools, in their state houses, on Capitol Hill, and at the ballot box. Now, they’re taking that advocacy one step further and demanding a seat at the table.
“It’s undeniable: our generation is a powerful political force in this country,” said Ashley Castillo, a volunteer with Students Demand Action and a Demand a Seat graduate. “We should have a say in the decisions that impact our generation and future ones. To the lawmakers who have continuously put politics over our safety: the generation you’ve failed to protect will be running to replace you.”
“Young people have been at the forefront of nearly every successful social movement, and the gun safety movement is no different,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The next generation has already played a key role in reshaping the nation’s conversation around gun safety, so now we’re going to help them do the same when it comes to writing the nation’s laws.”
“Our gun violence epidemic is traumatizing an entire generation of Americans, but as we’ve seen time and time again, young people are taking their futures into their own hands,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “I’m proud to see this generation of fierce gun safety advocates rising up in their communities and taking their political power to the next level by seeking out the tools to run for office or work on campaigns. Gen Z isn’t just the future, they are the now.”
During the inaugural three-day immersive Demand a Seat: Students Edition training camp in October, participants will learn from leaders and experts on how to run a campaign to create a better future for their generation and beyond. In this training camp, participants will tackle a multitude of topics, including but not limited to, campaign planning, effective messaging, and voter contact. Participants will be trained by seasoned campaign pros and politicians and will learn the fundamentals of building a winning campaign, including organizing and building their teams, budgeting and fundraising, and honing their messaging. Applications for the program are now open. More information can be found here.
Along with empowering participants to run for office, the Demand a Seat program also gives them the tools they need to successfully volunteer or work on campaigns to support Gun Sense Candidates. Participants will leave with tools and examples that they can begin to implement immediately to create meaningful change on their campus, working for a campaign, or even taking the jump to run for office.Demand a Seat, first launched in 2021, trains grassroots volunteers and gun violence survivors to take the next step in their advocacy by running for office and working on campaigns to elect Gun Sense Candidates. After the launch of the program, more than 275 volunteers and gun violence survivors ran in the 2021-22 election cycle — 158 of them won their races. Building off of that success, Demand a Seat: Students Edition will maximize the specific skill sets, talents, and innovation of young leaders in an environment designed just for them.