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SXSW Interactive 2015

Gays, Guns and GTFO: Progressive Issues Break Thru

Guns, Gays and GTFO (Get the F--- Out) will discuss the major socio-political movements in America today-- Gun rights, LGBT equality, and immigration reform-- and the successes and failures they experienced in the last year. Some movements are sustained by a large influx of money while some are squashed by it. The immigration and gun reform movements had an overwhelming public outcry and an emotional appeal but did not result in legislative change. By contrast, we have witnessed the power of public support in shifting the narrative and public opinion in the movement for LGBT rights. That success eventually led to a significant policy shift on a federal and state level.

This panel will explore how some movements can dramatically increase public awareness but are unable to change antiquated policies by presenting key players in all 3 movements to discuss their major wins, epic fails, lessons learned and how they plan to continue pushing for progressive change in the United States.

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  1. Most major grassroots campaigns seek changes in the law or to our public policies at the state and/or federal level. If these changes are not the ultimate definition of success they are at least indicators. What are the legislative goals for each of these three major social and political movements and how are they different?
  2. For the most part, a successful national public policy campaign relies on significant and consistent funding. While steady funding can contribute greatly to educating and reaching larger audiences, it does not always guarantee success. What has been the role of moneyed interests and funding in each of the movements and what other factors have the power to trump financial influence?
  3. Measuring success or progress is key for maintaining funding streams and can also help energize a base of supporters. As a measure of success, without a change in the law or any indication of successful legislation in the near future, how do you sustain the campaigns momentum and the energy and activism of supporters necessary to keep moving forward?
  4. Every generation has been faced with challenges and injustices that have called them to action. Each has maximized the tools of their time to educate and activate for change. What are the tools used by this generation of progressives (i.e. technology, social media, etc) that are most effective and how do they help or harm progress?
  5. Of the three issues that we have presented here, each has used a combination of technology, multimedia, mass demonstrations, celebrity or national figures as spokespeople, and appealing to our federal courts as part of their campaign to succeed. Clearly each has had varying degrees of success. What are the distinguishing aspects among the three that would help explain the variance of success and what changes can we expect in the near future to overcome them?



Lia Seremetis, Associate, The Raben Group

Meta Information:

  • Tags: immigration
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Non-Profit and Activism
  • Level: Advanced
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