Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement Book Poster Image
Inspiring story of teens who organized March for Our Lives.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

While Gimmer of Hope offers a roadmap for creating a movement, the most important takeaway for readers may be the four pages titled "How We Save Lives." This presents 10 practical reforms and steps endorsed by March for Our Lives: Fund gun violence research, eliminate absurd restrictions on the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), institute universal background checks, ban high-capacity magazines, limit firing power on the streets, fund prevention programs, institute extreme risk protection orders, disarm all domestic abusers, pass federal laws specifically targeting gun trafficking, and require safe storage and mandatory theft reporting. 

Positive Messages

Who you are and how few you are doesn't need to stop you from creating a world changing movement. "These nobodies, we're the ones who were able to get one of the most historic marches to happen." For anyone who believes that the voices of young Americans speaking out against gun violence will fade away, think again. "We are here for real change. We are here to lead."  " … we are a great generation and we will be the ones to make America safe." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Every chapter in Glimmer of Hope is written by a role model. These are a few of them: It all began in the living room of Cameron Kasky, where he gathered a small group of close friends. After a night of brainstorming, it was decided they "needed to march." Josh Barnitt, Sofie Whitney, Sarah Chadwick and Brenden Duff launched the movement's social media outreach. Seven days after the shooting, 100 students from Margery Stoneman Douglas traveled to the state capital, where Jaclyn Corin had set up meetings with 70 Florida state legislators to discuss gun legislation. Delaney Tarr organized a trip to Washington, D.C., so a group of classmates could lobby Congress for gun reform. Following the march, Matt Deitsch helped launch Road to Change, a tour across America to motivate young people to be registered and motivated to vote. Passing references to some of the celebrities who attended the March for Our Lives (Demi Lavato, Miley Cyrus, George and Amal Clooney, Kim Kardasian and Kanye West).

Violence

A few brief mentions of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Sex
Language

"F--k" and "damn" are used a few times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement is written by the founders of March for Our Lives, the student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control that that drew 800,00 participants to Washington, D.C. in March 2018 and inspired more than 800 marches around the world. After a gunman killed 17 students and teachers and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a small group of students decided to channel their grief and anger into action. That action, they decided, should be a march. Moving from the hours after the shooting on February 14, 2018, to the day of the march, the book unfolds through individual and group essays and oral histories as the students plan and organize what would become one of the largest youth-led movements in history. One section includes powerful memories of the students' first day back at school and another has reflections from students who took part in and spoke at the march. The authors never hold back in expressing their anger at politicians who take money from the NRA and their determination to see stricter gun laws enacted and assault weapons banned. a hundred percent of the authors' proceeds and a large percentage of publisher Random House's profits will benefit the March for Our Lives Fund.

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What's the story?

GLIMMER OF HOPE begins on Valentine's Day 2018, shortly after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 dead and 17 others injured. Safe at home that evening, junior Cameron Kasky determined "this one has to be different" and that survivors of the shooting, not the media should be the ones to tell the story. Two days later, he and a group of close friends met in his living room and began an extraordinary five-week journey that would see student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas organize March for Our Lives, a demonstration in support of tighter gun control that drew 800,00 participants to Washington, D.C. The following chapters, each written by organizers or participants in the march, show how students put together a social media team and organized trips to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. to speak with lawmakers (Senators Lindsey Graham, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bill Nelson, Bernie Sanders) about gun reform. Many of these meeting would prove demoralizing, as the students felt they never got straight answers to their concerns and questions. Organizers write about doing interviews with major media outlets, speaking at an anti-gun rally three days after the shooting, and participating in a CNN Town Hall, where they confronted Sen. Marco Rubio about taking money from the NRA. Numerous students recall heartbreaking memories in the "First Day Back at School" chapter, where they were welcomed by therapy dogs and police officers carrying the same weapon the shooter had used. "The March for Our Lives" chapter includes both reflections from participants and excerpts from speeches given by several students. The book ends with a look at what the future holds for the organizers of the march, a new movement called Road to Change, whose goal is to educate, register, and motivate young people to vote. 

Is it any good?

The inspiring story of how a small group of teens refused to give into grief and anger and instead took action, organizing a march against gun violence. Glimmer of Hope is both empowering and downright amazing, as the students organized March for Our Lives in just five weeks. None of the contributors mention this fact and are unfailingly modest about their own accomplishments, always crediting the success of the march to a group effort. Each chapter has a photo of the writer or writers, and there's an insert with photos of memorials at the high school, pictures from the march in D.C., and others of students speaking at events around the county.

For readers who may be hesitant about their ability to successfully organize for a cause in their school or community, this story of the Parkland teens should give them the confidence needed to take on the challenge.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the campaign against gun violence that's presented in Glimmer of Hope. Do you agree with the Parkland students that gun laws in America need to be changed? If so, how would you rewrite those laws?

  • What do you think should be done to stop school shootings? Is arming teachers the answer?

  • Has the book inspired you to become involved with any issues in your school or community? What are the special talents and skills teens can bring to organizing a movement like March for Our Lives?

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