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5 Ways New Movement Leaders Are Effecting Change

By Michael Silberman ~ yes! ~

Seasoned campaigners have long understood that the most effective messengers and organizers are those with the most at stake, or—like the Parkland students—little to lose. Those most directly affected by an issue can speak from the heart, while many campaigners and advocates sound scripted when they cite statistics or the latest study to make their points.

Soon after taking the stage at the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., Parkland and speaking for two minutes, senior Emma González went silent. After standing wordlessly at the podium for another four minutes and 26 seconds, she informed the crowd that her entire six minute and 20 second speech had lasted the same amount of time as she and her classmates had endured an active shooter.

She captured attention not only by speaking from the heart, but by showing rather than telling. González and her fellow student leaders are compelling to us because they have what Frank Sesno, director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, says are the three critical elements of good stories: (1) compelling characters, (2) characters who have overcome obstacles, and (3) characters who have achieved a worthy outcome.

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