Inspired by the March for Our Lives movement built by Parkland, Fla. students and in an effort to further awareness around the issue of gun violence, Madeleine “Maddi” Meyer ’24 and a team of student leaders in her community organized a rally in Annapolis, Md. Meyer’s role was to leverage the power of social media to publicize the event.
“I remember watching the news after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, but also after every other shooting that has happened in my lifetime. It stuck with me that parents are afraid to send their kids to school,” Meyer says. Ultimately, Meyer was moved by the Parkland students who “devoted themselves to a bigger cause,” and “inspired people across the nation to join them.” The Annapolis movement was led by high schooler Mackenzie Boughey.
Meyer, who intends to pursue an environmental studies major at the Colleges, ran the March for Our Lives: Annapolis Instagram account. In addition to reminding her audience about the upcoming rally, she posted messages of support from changemakers across the country and called her audience to action. “Social media has become such an important way to further a movement,” Meyer says.
The group gained further publicity by participating in radio interviews with Annapolis press and met with local officials including Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown. Each of the student leaders also made a point of tapping into their personal networks. For Meyer, that meant making announcements at school to remind her peers about the upcoming rally.
The March for Our Lives event became the largest rally to ever be held in the city of Annapolis. In addition to remarks by community organizers, Meyer and her peers shared the responsibility of reading the names of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. During the event, Mayor Gavin Buckley awarded Meyer and her peers a citation on behalf of the city.
Meyer is determined to continue building support for the March for Our Lives movement. Although the effort has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she intends to host a screening of a documentary about gun violence that includes interviews with Parkland survivors and families for her classmates.
At Hobart and William Smith, Meyer is eager to join a campus community that emphasizes civic engagement as part of the college experience. “I love the idea of being involved in a college campus, where there are other activists around me,” she says.