Here’s why March For Our Lives organizers are leaving chairs empty at this weekend’s town hall events

Here’s why March For Our Lives organizers are leaving chairs empty at this weekend’s town hall events


Here’s why March For Our Lives organizers are leaving chairs empty at this weekend’s town hall events

The student-led March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24th was a monumental success. The movement saw more than 800 rallies in one day and kept the message of gun control in the national dialogue. Still, the work of these student activists is far from over. In their first follow-up action, March For Our Lives organizers have partnered with the Town Hall Project to demand a string of town halls across the nation this weekend — and beyond — in a series of events known as “Town Hall For Our Lives.”

Town Hall For Our Lives aims to connect elected officials with their constituents for a discussion addressing the epidemic of gun violence in America. More than 100 events in 34 states have already been scheduled, according to ABC News, with many expected to draw big citizen crowds. But it’s who won’t be in attendance that is perhaps making the loudest statement.

To symbolize the lawmakers who were invited to participate but declined — many of whom, but not all, are Republican, it should be noted — seats will be left empty to draw attention to their non-attendance. Representing the inaction of legislators in the face of repeated mass shootings, the empty seats send a powerful message about the priorities of our elected officials.

Simply put, too many of our lawmakers aren’t here for us, nor the principles behind the Town Hall For Our Lives events.

As of Friday morning, 33 Democratic representatives had confirmed their attendance. However, no Republican lawmakers have publicly committed to attending, despite the more than 70 town halls expected to take place in GOP-led districts so far.

Parkland student and shooting survivor David Hogg first raised the idea of hosting town halls to specifically address gun reform the day after the March For Our Lives. He also encouraged would-be organizers to invite their lawmakers’ political opponents, should their sitting representatives decline the invitation.

We honestly can’t think of a better way to say, “Take this seriously, or we’ll vote you out!”

Town Hall Project executive director Jimmy Dahman, a former organizer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, told The Huffington Post the students’ efforts were “incredibly inspiring.”

“These students have shown great determination in wanting to engage in the democratic process,” Dahman said. “It’s elected officials’ responsibility to listen to their constituents. Democracy is best served when the people show up.”

The students behind the #NeverAgain movement have done an incredible job encouraging dialogue between citizens and lawmakers. Still, as awesome as they are, they can’t do it alone. If you’d like to organize a future town hall in your area, visit the Town Hall Project website and let your voice be heard.

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A goat farmer told me no one swims in the lake at Zahara de la Sierra because it’s full of fish with crocodile heads. Is that why I’m the only person in 128 sq km of cool water on a very hot day? I later learn that this manmade lake (embalse), the mountain ranges to the south of it, and the cliffs, gorges, flower meadows, forests and caves all around are simply, for the most part, empty. Spain has a surplus of staggeringly beautiful wild spaces, but this one – almost 54,000 hectares north-east of Cadiz, overflowing into the province of Málaga – became the country’s first Unesco biosphere reserve in 1977. And Sierra de Grazalema became Andalucía’s first parque natural in 1984.

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‘Sherlock’ Review: ‘The Empty Hearse’ Finds An Emotional Reunion For Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman In Long-Awaited Return

The most highly-awaited show of the year returned, and within one sharp, mind-boggling minute in the company of Sherlock and Co, it was all explained away… apparently.

We had a far-fetched (but possible!) combination of bungee rope, a Sherlock mask over a Moriarty body, a big grateful kiss for enamoured lab assistant Molly… oh, and Derren Brown???? Hang on a minute!

Ah, that’ll be one big nod to the conspiracy theorists everywhere, then. No one listens to their fans like writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, and plays with them a little in return. According to Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock on the roof, there are 13 possible outcomes in total. So looks like we might have to wait for the truth for a bit longer after all…

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Sherlock’s return was greeted with a welcome less warm than he would have perhaps liked

Cut to… Gatiss as weary Mycroft having to tap some numbers into his international speed-dial, brush up his Serbian, engage in some tiresome ‘field work’ to locate his errant little brother, and return him to his Baker Street fold.

And that, expectant viewers, was very much that. Two years’ worth of all our wondering, tucked into a drawer for the time being. Onward…

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Mary (Amanda Abbington) had (almost) replaced Sherlock in Doctor Watson’s affections, but proved crucial to the restoration of their bromance

Into the up-to-date world of Dr Watson (Martin Freeman), complete with fiancee Mary (Freeman’s real-life partner Amanda Abbington) and moustache, moving on with his life, much to the surprise of Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) – “So soon after Sherlock?” she asked guilelessly.

But this was a light appetiser for the serious business of his reunion with the much-missed Holmes who, despite his big brain, managed to misjudge such concepts as how grief can turn to resentment when it turns out to be misplaced for two sad, lonely years. Sherlock got a much warmer reception even from DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves), and that was even after Holmes got his name wrong.

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Benedict Cumberbatch was on fine form as the loner detective

Fortunately for fans, it wasn’t too long before Holmes and Watson were reconciled to combat an underground terrorism network operating on the underground network. From then on, it was all torches in dark tunnels, upturned collars and lots and lots of nifty editing as Holmes homed in on quite a bit of a bomb, and Watson continued to prove his peerless Everyman acting stripes, equal parts confusion, good intention, and deep indignation when said bomb turned out to have an off-switch. That Sherlock fella, eh? Such a wag.

Because of all of Watson’s understandable, brooding resentment for much of the 90 minutes, a lot of the real pleasure in this episode in fact came from the jollier exchanges between the Holmes brothers, with both siblings proving that absence makes the heart grow more competitive… who can deduce more accurately? Who can say more more words in one minute? Who can enunciate more c-c-r-r-i-sply? Wonderful stuff from both Cumberbatch and Gatiss.

A challenge to keep up with, a joy to watch – there’s a reason this kind of telly takes two years to make. But oh, how we’ve missed it, and oh, how it was worth the wait.

How DID he do it? Let us know your thoughts below, and what you thought of Sherlock’s big return…

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