Dr Richard Bolstad is Transformations Principal Trainer

The Never Again MSD Campaign And The NLP Activist Model

Use of the core skills discussed in The NLP Activist

On Valentines Day in September 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, expelled student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 fellow students. In the aftermath, the survivors mobilized a vast social change movement to end the NRA (National Rifle Association) control of gun legislation in the USA. Within a week of beginning, they were effectively utilizing all the skills described in the NLP Activist training, and they had a good understanding of their personality differences explained there and how to utilize these. For The NLP Activist Book check here at Amazon. The model draws partially on The Wheel Of Change, described in this earlier article

Goalsetting: The students have clear focused goals. The students are calling for a complete ban on semi-automatic and automatic assault rifles. "They have no place in civilian society," stated Emma Gonzalez.

Utilizing Different Metaprograms and Rapport: The students know that part of their strength is that some of them focus more on differences, some more on similarities; some focus more on problems and some more on goals. They understand the importance of rapport with themselves and others who have widely different approaches. "We said, 'We are the three voices of this.' We're strong, but together we're unstoppable," Cameron Kasky said. "Because David has an amazing composure, he's incredibly politically intelligent; I have a little bit of composure; and Emma, beautifully, has no composure, because she's not trying to hide anything from anybody." "Emma Gonzalez, she's an inspiration to us and she's working for us, but, if she were to say something that was non-factual, you know she would be highly scrutinized by literally everybody, including the President. I wouldn't be surprised if he tweeted about Emma Gonzalez saying that she is a domestic terrorist." Says Alfonso Calderon. In early interviews Kasky had criticized the Republican Party, but he and his friends had decided since that the movement should be nonpartisan. Surely everyone--gun owner or pacifist, conservative or liberal--could agree that school massacres should be stopped. The group stayed up all night creating social-media accounts and trying to figure out what needed to be said.

Reframing: The students have great skills in reframing adversities as positives. Reframing a malicious attack to comedy relief: "It's actually really funny to us. Last night we kept showing the pictures to each other of the actors we're supposed to be and could not stop laughing -- it was nice, we haven't had such a good laugh in what feels like years. It just shows how weak the other side's argument is, like they have to attack the messengers since the message is airtight." Emma Gonzales. Reframing time sense: "People say it's too early to talk about it," Mr. Kasky said. "If you ask me, it's way too late." Reframing a corrupt system as humorous: "The midterm elections are coming up. And unfortunately I'm not a Russian computer, so I can't vote yet. But I can inspire people to vote, and I can get people punishing those who have hurt us." -- Cameron Kasky

Anchoring: Utilizing the success of the MeToo movement and connecting the two in people's minds. Another student hundreds of miles away from Wednesday's attack, Violet Massie-Vereker, had her own simple and provocative idea to draw attention to the reform debate. Following on from the success of the #MeToo campaign, she proposed a twist exposing the reality for student and parents' concerns with #MeNext?

Cooperation and Influencing Skills: Many movements crash due to arguments but these students know how to cooperate. Some of the students hold leadership positions at their school, so they're used to planning committees and meetings. (As people online tweeted that Gonzalez should run for president, she joked that she already is president -- of her school's Gay--Straight Alliance.) Although the planning room was big, the students worked closely together on a rug, making decisions communally. When media outlets rang to schedule interviews, the calls were sometimes put on hold so the group could plan and schedule collectively, as if they'd been doing this for years. ... The students also are receiving messaging help from 42West, a marketing firm that typically handles public relations in the entertainment industry. Cameron Kasky said the firm has helped students with "what we wanted to say so that it wouldn't come off as too offensive, so we wouldn't get into trouble."

Wheel of Change

The Four Change Styles In The Activists

Citizen/Auditor: "It's so sad to see how many of you have lost faith in America, because we certainly haven't, and we're never going to. You might as well stop now, because we're going to outlive you." David Hogg. This statement, for those who know the Wheel of Change model, is designed to appeal to the "Citizen"/"Auditor" quadrant (away-from and matching). It says "We have a problem and we need to fix it by making everything match again. We are not trying to change things but to maintain an eternal truth." This is especially David Hogg's strength.

Rebel: "I don't even know if the adults in power who are funded by the NRA I don't even think we need them anymore because they're going to be gone by midterm election. There's-- there's barely any time for them to save their skins. And if they don't turn around right now and state their open support for this movement they're going to be left behind. Because you are either with us or against us at this point." "The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS." Emma Gonzales. "The shooter is not the only one responsible for this tragedy. While the alleged shooter may have had several issues, he also lived in a society where Senator Marco Rubio refuses to take responsibility for the role gun culture may have played in this tragedy." Cameron Kasky These statements, for those who know the Wheel of Change model, are designed to appeal to the "Rebel" quadrant (away-from and mis-matching). They say "The problems are bigger than just one event and can't be fixed by going after one specific change (no-semi-automatics). The whole underlying culture is corrupt and we need to destroy the NRA and gun culture itself. Everything must change, or nothing will change." This is especially Emma Gonzales' strength

Change Agent/Innovator: "Our motivation is each other. Each and every person and putting together a brilliant argument one at a time. We're taking inspiration from each other and we're all taking the grief that we feel for our friends that we're not allowed to feel because we're having to be the adults in this situation -- we're taking that grief and putting it forward. We're taking care of business the only way that we know how." Emma Gonzales. "In Newtown the students were so young they couldn't stand up, but trust me - we are going to be the change," Parkland survivor Alex Wind told the BBC. "We will start by asking legislators to review gun laws in other countries. The NRA brainwashes us to think these rules and laws can't work here. We think they can." Jaclyn Corin. These statements, for those who know the Wheel of Change model, are designed to appeal to the "Change Agent"/"Innovator" quadrant (towards and mismatching). They say "Whatever happens in the wider world, we will be different to all others and we will show you the way it could be. We will be the adults and show you how adults can behave, and we will look at other countries as models and show you how they find solutions." People who focus on the group itself, like Cameron Kasky,

Reformer: "Please contact your local and state representatives, as we must have stricter gun laws immediately," "Our coping mechanism is dealing with it in a political aspect. I know that a lot of us in the school have different coping mechanisms, and it's good that we do because we need a wide variety of comfort and mourning, but also political action." "It really needs to be recognized that they need to stop fighting each other and start working together," Jaclyn Corin, who first talked to the Democratic Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and state representatives. This statement, for those who know the Wheel of Change model, is designed to appeal to the "Reformer" quadrant (towards and matching). Preliminary arrangements were made to bus a hundred Douglas students and fifteen chaperones to Tallahassee to address the state legislature. It says "We don't need to fight anyone. We need to talk to those in power and integrate our energy and new awareness with their system and process for planning. We are essentially a part of the system that helps it get back to the job it can do so well." This is especially Jaclyn Corin's strength.

Now re-hear Cameron Kasky's comment about the group: . "We said, 'We are the three voices of this.' We're strong, but together we're unstoppable. Because David (Away from- Matching) has an amazing composure, he's incredibly politically intelligent; I (Towards, mismatching) have a little bit of composure; and Emma (Away from, mismatching), beautifully, has no composure, because she's not trying to hide anything from anybody." Jaclyn Corin (Towards, matching) was already talking to representatives in the government by this time.

Comments About The Campaign

Stage Determines Action: “It is a stark change from the moments that followed the Columbine shooting in April 1999,” said Austin Eubanks, who survived the shooting. "There was nobody who took an activism stance," Mr. Eubanks said of Columbine's immediate aftermath. That's not entirely true. In 2001, Columbine survivors successfully lobbied Kmart to stop selling ammunition. In a gut-wrenching scene in Bowling for Columbine, survivors Mark Taylor and Richard Castaldo went to Kmart headquarters to show the bullets still lodged in their bodies. They said all the bullets were purchased at a local Kmart. Kmart agreed to stop stocking the bullets. So what really changed between Columbine and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas was that the campaign went from Stage 4 to stage 6 of the model below. Within a week it was at stage 7.

Stages of a Campaign
1. The public is completely unaware.
2. Opposition groups using accepted channels.
3. Public concern reaches 1/4.
4. Trigger events, campaigns exposing issue.
5. Frustration at failure, destructive protests.
6. Retriggering events create majority support..
7. Splits in power. Minimal reforms rejected.
8. Backlash hostility and new issues emerge.

Keep Momentum: The students understood that they needed to keep momentum up and diversify their tactics to maintain majority support and to promote splits in the power holder ranks. "[I'm racing against] people forgetting, the momentum slowing down," Emma Gonzales said "These celebrities that are talking to us are wonderful. I want to make sure we can utilize their platforms at a time when people, the fans of these celebrities. Every bit helps. And we're trying to race against the possibility that something giant happens, like a break in the Russian investigation," she added. "I can only pray nothing happens right now that could distract the nation from paying attention to this. We were very close to being swept under the carpet and we did not let that happen." Emma Gonzales discussing tactics. The Never Again MSD (Marjory Stoneman Douglas) Facebook group added 35,000 Facebook followers over a three-day period and 134,000 followers by February 23, 2018.

"I started live-streaming so people could see, to reignite the interest," said Mr. Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who has become one of the most prominent gun-control activists in the aftermath of last week's shooting. "I was getting worried, like this is over, people do not care."

Diversify tactics: Having seen the success of the Women's March in 2017, they decided to organize a march on Washington on March 24. "We knew that we needed to do something big," said Alex Wind, a 17-year-old junior and theater aficionado. "If we didn't, we would go out of the news." March for our lives organizer Julian Diego Lopez-Leyva says the march is being planned almost exclusively by students. "The world is a different place than it was five or 10 years ago, and so is the internet," Chiu told the student newspaper. "It's easier to spread a message and get it across. And Stoneman Douglas is a very articulate, academic school."

"One of their greatest sources of power is their facility with social media," said Elizabeth Matto, a professor at Rutgers University who studies youth political participation. "These students in Florida are not just using social media to raise awareness, but they're actually trying to influence the makeup of government."

The movement is becoming more organized with professional input. Mr. Kasky said Deena Katz, a leader of the Women's March in Los Angeles, reached out to the students to offer support. She is now helping the group recruit pro bono lawyers to form a nonprofit, deal with permitting for the march and find a treasurer to allocate the millions of dollars they have received in donations, Mr. Kasky said. The students also are receiving messaging help from 42West, a marketing firm that typically handles public relations in the entertainment industry. Mr. Kasky said the firm has helped students with "what we wanted to say so that it wouldn't come off as too offensive, so we wouldn't get into trouble."

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