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A look at everything that's been done so far to prevent another Parkland. Seriously.

Stores are changing their policies; companies are bucking the NRA.

A look at everything that's been done so far to prevent another Parkland. Seriously.

There's been a lot of change since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and it's come from unexpected places.

In the week that followed the massacre of 17 teachers and students, people across the political spectrum came together in an effort to do something.

And that's a big deal.


Too often, the end result of a mass shooting — whether it's 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub in 2016, or the slaughter of 58 people in 2017's Las Vegas shooting — is for most Americans to simply shrug, accept that nothing will ever change, and go about our lives.

But the teen survivors of Parkland weren't about to let that happen again. They've marched, made appearances on TV, and somehow managed to rally nearly the entire country around the issue of gun violence in a way that hasn't been seen in years.

Most of all, they started a thoughtful conversation — no longer accepting "thoughts and prayers" as the only answer to the epidemic.

Students returned to class on Feb. 28, two weeks after 17 students were gunned down. Photo by Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images.

Already, a number of corporations have made big changes to their policies around guns and who they will sell them to.

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, DICK's Sporting Goods announced immediate plans to stop selling "assault-style rifles" from their 35 Field & Stream specialty stores (they'd previously stopped selling them at their main stores after the Sandy Hook shooting). They also removed high capacity magazines from their inventory, raised the minimum gun-buying age to 21, and recommitted to their decision not to sell bump stocks (which were used in the Las Vegas shooting).

"In light of recent events, we’ve taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearm sales," reads a Walmart press release announcing plans to increase the minimum purchase age for firearms and ammunition to 21.

"We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys. Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way."

The next day, Kroger announced that its Fred Meyer department stores would no longer sell firearms or ammunition to people under the age of 21.

The moves by these major gun retailers follow weeks of students and activists successfully urging companies associated with the NRA to cut ties.

The National Rifle Association is a gun rights organization, but in recent years, it's become more extreme, resisting even the smallest changes to gun laws and fighting to protect legal loopholes. They also have a lot of clout in political circles, making their resistance to change that much more difficult in pursuit of sensible reform. A #BoycottNRA movement popped up on Twitter soon after the shooting, and within a week, a number of corporate sponsors gave second thought to the decision to offer things like discounts or NRA-branded Visa cards to the group's members.

A couple days later, Delta and United Airlines joined in, announcing plans to discontinue their NRA relationships.

Car rental companies Enterprise and Hertz ended NRA discount programs, each putting out short, simple statements on their Twitter pages.

MetLife, Paramount Rx, and Starkey Hearing, a hearing aid company, severed ties with the group, as well. Insurance company Chubb, which had previously offered NRA-branded insurance policies, announced an end to that program.

And home security company SimpliSafe announced an end to its NRA discount program, which offered members two free months of its service. Cyber security company Symantec made a similar announcement via their Twitter page.

A man aims a semi-automatic AR-15 at Good Guys Guns & Range on Feb. 15, 2018 in Orem, Utah. An AR-15 was used in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

Not all companies have felt moved to take action or distance themselves from the NRA.

FedEx decided to continue its discount programs for NRA members, noting that the group was just one of hundreds of associations offered reduced shipping rates. The company clarified that while it does not donate to or sponsor the NRA in any capacity, the program would remain.

Still, FedEx tried to clarify that the discount program was not meant as an endorsement of NRA policy positions:

"FedEx Corporation’s positions on the issues of gun policy and safety differ from those of the National Rifle Association (NRA). FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians. While we strongly support the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own firearms subject to appropriate background checks, FedEx views assault rifles and large capacity magazines as an inherent potential danger to schools, workplaces, and communities when such weapons are misused. We therefore support restricting them to the military. Most important, FedEx believes urgent action is required at the local, state, and Federal level to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida on February 14th."

Another target of activists' ire has been the NRATV digital streaming channel, available on outlets like Apple TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Roku. The channel, which recently aired a clip of one of their hosts smashing a TV with a sledgehammer, an interview in which one of their correspondents said liberals have "so much in common with ISIS" and "hate America," a segment blaming the Parkland shooting on the Obama administration, another segment that compared the Parkland shooting to Benghazi, and one playing host to a former sheriff who said the Parkland survivors "use the same kind of language" as Hitler.

To be sure, the channel is controversial and incendiary, which is why activists have called on Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and Roku to drop it. To date, none of the four have.

Members of activist organization Code Pink protest the NRA's Wayne LaPierre in December 2012, one week after the Sandy Hook massacre. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

There's still a very long way to go in the fight to address gun violence. It's time the government took a note from the people and did something.

The discussion about guns and their place in society isn't going to fade into the background. The brave teens of Parkland are making damn well sure of that. It's time the government actually did something about the problem instead of throwing its hands up and shrugging it off. Yes, President Donald Trump did meet with members of Congress to discuss potential action to discuss possible action, but it seems unlikely that they'll actually make meaningful change without continued public pressure.

We don't have to live in a world where there are just a certain number of acceptable losses to gun violence, and it's time we elected leaders willing to step outside that defeatist mindset and get things done.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is a sponsor of Good Media Group, but did not pay for the content of this news article.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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