Kudos to the Companies Taking a Stand

Since 17 students were killed murdered and 15 were injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day, there has been a lot more talk about gun violence. The gun debate in this country is just absurd.

 

Pretty much anyone can walk into a store and buy an assault rifle. It’s too easy. Too accessible. Take this from Nick Wing on The Huffington Post:

Under federal law, and in almost every state, the minimum age for purchasing a long gun from a licensed dealer is 18. This category of firearms encompasses shotguns and rifles, including the assault-style weapons that have become popular in mass shootings. Federal law provides no minimum age for the possession of long guns, and in some states, it’s legal for children younger than 18 to own these weapons as long as they have parental consent.

For handguns, the age limit increases to 21 under federal law. Just two states, Hawaii and Illinois, have laws specifically raising the minimum purchase age for long guns to 21, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Mass murder after mass murder happens and the government sits on its hands. It’s shameful, disgusting, and a direct result of a term bell hooks coined, “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”

I probably don’t have to say by now that Parkland is an affluent community. They were prepped for this. They had security. They even reported the shooter, who was a former student of the school and had a record of suspicious behavior, to the authorities multiple times.

Still, nothing happened. Except when tragedy did. 

But now something is happening. Momentum is building. Student voices are being heard.

Yet, I have to acknowledge that while it is wonderful and powerful that this youth movement is taking their pain and righteous anger and making a change, it is disheartening and proof of our racist society that when communities of color call out under similar circumstances, the same attention isn’t granted. The attention of the media. The attention of celebrities. The attention span of the general public.

We are fighting the same fight.

Something has to be done to dismantle the NRA. And the power they hold over our society. 

Let me be clear – I absolutely believe in a person’s right to bear arms. A handgun. A rifle, if you hunt. But they need to be regulated. Not everyone should be able to possess one and people need to jump through a few hoops (at least) to purchase one. 

This administration and all its cronies will be overthrown. It’s going to be a long bloody and vicious war, but we will overcome. We will win. The right side will prevail. And as part of the resistance, those of us who believe that this country is and can be better, more just, more inclusive, more equitable, safer and with more heart, have to work on every level to reverse the toxicity these people are ejaculating everywhere.

Part of that work falls to businesses. Large and small. 

I am a queer person who appreciates companies who turn out for Pride. I like to see all the brands, handing out rainbow swag and using the event as a business opportunity. Do I think it sells out the original point of Pride?

No.

Queer people will always have their own underground parties. The parties that are just for us. Pride should be a celebration of the greater community and include everyone who wants to take part (and is respectful). And companies should shell out the funds and resources to show that. During that time, yes, but especially, all year long.

Nike’s BETRUE collection, released right around Pride last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s why I want to give props to Dick’s Sporting Goods, LL Bean, Walmart, and Kroger for raising the minimum age for purchasers of guns to 21 from 18, as a response to the Parkland students’ activism. It’s a first step in the right direction. It’s smart business and shows these companies are paying attention to the will of the people. It illustrates relevancy, that they are willing to take a stand and do what’s just. At least in this case. 

Image: NPR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are in a time where you must speak up. There is no more hiding. People who say politics doesn’t affect them are blinded by their privilege. We all need to do our part. I have ended working relationships because of people’s support of Trump. Think about where your energy, resources, and dollars are going. Who is behind the brand you’re working for, you’re buying from, and sharing with on social media?

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury to be choosy, yes. Sometimes circumstances make our decisions for us. Sometimes we just don’t know because doing research on the corporate brands that seem to rule our lives can be arduous and time-consuming. And we certainly aren’t all perfect, nor can be know everything going on behind the scenes.

But we can be more aware and vigilant.

And we can make decisions to the best of our ability. We can align with those whose values parallel ours – not to be homogeneous and avoid conflict – but to strengthen the bridge to bring others to our side. 

 

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