We are less than halfway through 2018, and the United States has already seen 23 school shootings that resulted in at least one person — other than the gunman — being injured or shot dead. In the two-and-a-half months since three adults and 14 students were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, another 15 people have lost their lives on school grounds.
In the aftermath of these tragedies, it's the kids who have taken it upon themselves to fight back, not with weapons, but with words: on Twitter, on live TV, on posters held high above their heads during the March for Our Lives. These are the faces of school shootings, of what happens when laws don't protect America's children from being murdered in the middle of history class. Today, alongside other survivors of mass shootings from Pulse Nightclub to the Washington Navy Yard, they're wearing orange lipstick.
"They say it's important to put your money where your mouth is, and this is perhaps the best and most notable example of that," says Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a non-profit that has advocated tirelessly for gun-control laws for over 40 years. Today, the organization has joined forces with The Lipstick Lobby for what Brown calls their most "loud and proud" effort yet.
Every single dollar of the net proceeds from the sale of Fired Up ($19), a bright orange shade (and the color of gun violence awareness), goes straight to the Brady Campaign, where the money will be used to help fund on-the-ground initiatives by one of the oldest, longest-standing gun-reform organizations in the country. Davida Hall, founder of The Lipstick Lobby, says that the brand shouldn't be confused with other beauty companies that donate to charity. "We don't really consider ourselves a 'beauty brand,'" she says. "We're a social justice brand, and yes, we make lipstick, but it's all about the proceeds, and where that money goes. That's what we want to feel front and center of these campaigns: the issues, the people, the stories."
For the survivors, the Fired Up campaign provides another platform to raise their voices. The pictures are powerful, the importance of raising awareness immeasurable. "It is incredibly important that the American public see and hear from survivors and that they are given a platform to tell their stories, so that we never forget the need to make real and lasting change," Brown says.
Of course, the mission to make real and lasting change doesn't end with a lipstick, or any amount of money, for that matter. The most impactful message comes in the form of a vote. "You have to vote to get the gun control. There's no other way," says Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Maddie Gaffney. "You'll know when you get there what you're going to vote for," adds her mother, Michelle. "Just vote."