While it was a group of school shooting survivors and other students across the U.S. who led the charge in organizing a recent worldwide demonstration for gun control, some analysts report that the March for our Lives event in the nation’s capital on Saturday was primarily attended by adults.
As The Washington Times reported, a group of researchers from the University of Maryland interviewed participants in an attempt to determine the demographic makeup of the demonstration.
After gathering information from a small sample of the hundreds of thousands on the ground for the protest, sociology professor Dana R. Fisher shared what she called “notable findings” from the study in a report published this week.
According to her team’s research, only about 1 in 10 activists were under the age of 18.
“Based on our sample of 256 participants that was collected throughout the crowd there are some very notable findings,” read the brief to her report. “Although the March was called by the Parkland students, most of the crowd was adults (only 9.7 percent of the crowd was under 18) and the average age of the adults participating was higher than at any other event that I have studied since the resistance began after Donald Trump’s inauguration.”
As for why a student-led march resonated with so many adults, Fisher determined that its youthful elements likely attracted older participants.
“Overall, these findings suggest that free music and young people helped expand the tent at this event,” she wrote.
Furthermore, researchers found that the expanded tent welcomed a large number of individuals uninitiated in such large-scale demonstrations. More than 1 in 4 demonstrators surveyed had never participated in a protest.
“The march turned out a lot of new people to protest: 27 percent of the march participants were completely new to protest,” she wrote.
Political affiliation was also apparently a less influential factor than in some previous demonstrations Fisher has studied.
“The march turned out a lot of political moderates: 16 percent identified as politically moderate,” the report stated.
While the effort succeeded in attracting a wide group of supporters, Fisher said the real test of this movement’s impact will be found in what happens next.
“The question that remains is whether these people will stay involved in the issue of gun control and become active members of the resistance,” she wrote.
As The Hill reported the day of the recent march, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior David Hogg indicated he and other survivors of last month’s deadly shooting are already planning future demonstrations, including protests at state capitols and a school walkout set for next month’s 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School.
Fisher’s study was part of the Protest Project, a larger mission to identify who attends certain demonstrations and why.
“This project analyzes the people who participate in large-scale protest events around the world: who are they, what motivates them to protest, and how are they connected to one another,” a description of the project explained.
She analyzed three marches last year — the Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science, and the People’s Climate March — as part of her ongoing project.
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