House Dems’ Gun Common Sense Sit-In Incorporates Social Media Strategies of Millennials

UPDATE: June 23, 2016 at 2:51 p.m. ET


House Democrats ended an almost 26-hour sit-in on the House floor a little after 1 p.m. Thursday. The protest was a response to lawmakers failing to pass any kind of gun-control measure, or a vote in the House.

“By sitting in, we’re really standing up for the rest of America,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who led the sit-in, said. “It’s not a struggle that lasts for one day, one week, one month, one year.”

The Senate also voted on Thursday afternoon to allow further consideration of the”No fly, no buy” bill, which is bipartisan legislation led by Maine Republican Susan Collins that would bangun sales to people on the no-fly list.

The measure will go forward as 52senators voted to keep considering the bill. However, it will ultimately need 60 votes to be accepted. According to USA Today,Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had called it a “test vote to see what it looks like.”

Original story

A form of protest coined in the Civil Rights Movement is aided by techniques of modern-day protests.

By Sheryl Estrada

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) during a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday. (Twitter)

Hashtags, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope and cell phone videos were used to complement Civil Rights Movement strategies during the House Democrats’ historic sit-in for gun control, which began on Wednesday. The use of social media by members mirrors how millennials participating in protests, such as #BlackLivesMatter, utilize such technology to give life to their movement.

On Thursday, Democrats resumed a sit-in on the House floor that began at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday as a protest to force votes on the “No fly, no buy” bill. The bill would prevent the sale of guns to suspected terrorists on the government’s no-fly list. In the aftermath of the mass shooting that took place June 12 in Orlando, Florida, lawmakers have been unable to act on gun control legislation.

Iconic civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is leading the sit-in. Lewis said Wednesday night the sit-in reminded him ofprotesting to end segregation during the Civil Rights Movement.

“We’re going to continue to sit in and sit down,” he said. “By sitting in and sitting down, we’re standing up.”

After 10 p.m. Wednesday when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gaveled, calling the House to order to try and override a presidential veto on fiduciary rules, Democrats shouted, “No vote, no break!” They carried signs with the names of victims of gun violence and began singing, “We Shall Overcome.”

Ryan then called a recess. However, he and Republicans reclaimed control of the House early Thursday morning. Then at approximately 3 a.m., following a 239-171 vote to approve $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus, adjourned for a recess that will last through July 5. The gun vote the Democrats requested did not take place.

“Democrats can continue to talk, but the reality is that they have no end-game strategy,” Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. “The Senate has already defeated the measure they’re calling for. The House is focused on eliminating terrorists, not constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. And no stunts on the floor will change that.”

This week, the Senate defeated four gun-control bills, two proposed by Republicans and two by Democrats.

Ryan tweeted the sit-in is “nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Twitter responded:

Social Media During Protests

When cameras covering the House floor were turned off on Wednesday per Ryan’s orders, members provided coverage with Periscope and Facebook feeds, and by tweeting photos and cell phone videos. They used the hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #NoFlyNoBuy.

Lewis, who participated in the Freedom Rides of 1961, and at age 25, led 525 marchers across the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. on March 7, 1965, was himself active on Twitter.

It seems Lewis and members of Congress have taken a nod from millennials, who use social media as leverage when their voices are stifled.

The use of the hashtag #ArabSpring on Facebook and Twitter gave young demonstrators leverage and garnered support for their cause during a series of demonstrations and uprisings in Tunisia in December 2010, when they were protesting against the repressive policies of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In the United States, #BlackLivesMatter movement was created in 2012 by activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. The hashtag was used on social media as a call to action after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. It resulted in the movement of protests against police-related deaths of Black men and women around the country.As a result, the Black Lives Matter Network formalized as a chapter-based national organization.

Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, 30, is well known for his use of social media, especially Twitter and Instagram. He tweeted in September that he isnot a formal memberof the BLM Network but rather “a part of the movement.”

In 2014, he used Twitter to chronicle the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, against the police-related death of Michael Brown, as well as protests during the aftermath of the police-related death ofFreddie Grayin 2015 in his hometown of Baltimore. Mckesson also participated in a sit-in at the St. Louis Justice Center in downtown St. Louis on August 10 to mark the anniversary of Brown’s death. In February, he became the 13th and final candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Baltimore mayoral race, finishing in sixth place in the April 26 primary.

Mckesson was active on Twitter Wednesday night, interacting with his more than 400,000 followers as the events of the House Democrats’ sit-in unfolded.

Twitter users replied:

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