This film decodes all the symbolism in March for Our Lives' get-out-the-vote video

Founding member Sarah Chadwick and a mother of a gun violence victim share the heartbreak and emotion behind all the details

Published On
Nov 02, 2018

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On October 12, the students behind March for Our Lives teamed with Kesha, her brother Sage Sebert, McCann New York and the Mill+ to create a riveting Rube Goldberg-themed music video that followed the “Vicious Cycle” of gun violence in the U.S. That day, three slightly different versions of the video aired back-to-back every hour on MTV--a media strategy that further drilled home the repetitive reality of the epidemic in our country.

The video itself follows the trail of bullets shot into a school hallway, triggering the chain of events that have become “routine” in the aftermath of shootings--lost lives, tears,  media frenzy, protests, politicians’ condolences and tributes. Expertly crafted, it’s filled with with details that change slightly with each version. Today, ahead of the midterm elections, McCann New York has released a behind-the-scenes video explaining the symbolism in the film--and a lot of it is heartbreaking.

March of Our Lives founding member Sarah Chadwick takes viewers through the first run-through. “Everything means something,” she says.

An opening scene of the film features the barrel of an AR-15, a rifle that’s been used in multiple shootings across the country. She explains that the room number in the first classroom, 214, references February 14, the date of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. 17 backpacks strung together and twirling from the ceiling recall the 17 lives of kids and teacher’s lost during the tragedy.  “When politicians sent thoughts and prayers, I thought they were empty, like these bubbles,” she says over a scene featuring books imprinted with that familiar phrase, riding along a skateboard propelled by a bubble blower.

When the second version of the video plays, the voice of Maria Pike, mother of a Chicago shooting victim Ricky Pike takes over. She explains how the room number changes to remember the tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18. Water pouring from the sprinklers during a fire alarm represents the tears she and many others shed over their lost loved ones, while those “tears” fill buckets that trigger protest banners to fall from the ceiling.

During the third airing of the video, Chadwick returns. The final scene shows money flying through the hallways--a skull and crossbones appearing in place of a president’s face on the bills. As they float past nodding bobbleheads of politicians. “Seriously lawmakers, get your resumes ready,” she says. “Yet again, nothing ever happens except the situation gets more frustrating. Vote for our lives. Really, you could save lives by voting.”