The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School know the news cycle is fast and furious. Momentous stories that once would have dominated the news for weeks now only hold the nation’s attention for days or even hours.
Survivors of the shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day attended the 4A’s Accelerate conference in Miami with one goal in mind: keep the movement growing.
“Keeping it in the media. Keeping it on TV. We don’t want to lose this momentum,” Parkland student Julia Cordover said about what she wants out of the advertising industry.
The Female Quotient, a group committed to advancing equality in the workplace, invited the students to the conference. It was the first time that anybody in the advertising industry had reached out to them.
Initially, the students planned to meet with a small group from the Female Quotient in a lounge at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. But as word spread about their invitation, the group and the 4A’s worked to give the students a larger space to address some of the ad industry’s most influential members. When the students made their appearance, they received a standing-room only reception.
Pitching the ad industry
The talk featured 11 Stoneman Douglas students, filmmaker Jeff Vespa and Female Quotient CEO Shelley Zalis. For the most part, the panelists were not the students making headlines on TV and Twitter. Many, however, were in their classrooms when the shooter entered their school. One girl explained how she watched three of her classmates and friends die in front of her. The discussion left the audience in awe, in tears and inspired, ready to ask these students how they can help their movement.