WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and AJR’s Adam Met authored an op-ed for Katie Couric Media urging the gun violence prevention and climate change movements to build upon the successes of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and Inflation Reduction Act, which both passed this summer. Murphy and Met, the bassist of multi-platinum band AJR and Executive Director of the social impact venture Planet Reimagined, highlighted the important role of young people in keeping up the fight.

“The last time the Senate passed a major gun safety bill was 1994, and the show Friends had just premiered, the first PlayStation had just been released, and Michael Jordan was playing baseball. The last time the Senate passed major climate change legislation? Never. That’s because for decades the gun lobby and fossil fuel industry had federal policy in a chokehold, successfully blocking every effort to shift power from corporations back to the people,” wrote Murphy and Met. “And then in one summer, that changed. Congress passed the most comprehensive gun safety legislation in thirty years and made the largest single investment in tackling the climate crisis in history.”

Murphy and Met highlighted the power of young people’s leadership in social movements: “Power in Washington doesn’t shift easily, and these two issues coming unstuck at the same time is not a coincidence. Young people are almost always at the forefront of the social change movements you read about in history textbooks, and the anti-gun violence and climate movements are prime examples…In the past few years, young people led hundreds of marches across the country, held rallies, and called their representatives. They partnered with bands like AJR to meet people where they are and register them to vote. They built power, brought more people into the fight, and turned out to vote in 2020 at the highest rate ever. Young people sent Democrats to the House, Senate, and White House with a mandate to deliver on a better future, and these victories are in large part thanks to the momentum they helped build.”

On the path ahead, they wrote: “The legislation Congress passed this summer dealt a seismic blow to the status quo and are testaments to the strength of these movements. But we’ll be the first to admit, there’s a lot of work left to do: banning assault weapons, a price on carbon, widespread environmental justice initiatives, and so much more. Big, complicated problems like the epidemic of gun violence and the existential threat of climate change tend to breed pessimism and hopelessness. That’s exactly what the cynical corporate interest groups are still betting on.”

“There would be no gun safety or climate legislation without the tireless efforts of survivors and advocates who — despite countless setbacks — never gave up. It was resilience that got us to today. That same fire and refusal to accept anything less than the future our kids and grandkids deserve is what gets us to tomorrow. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act are important first steps, but they can’t be our last. With young people leading us in this fight, we know we’re just getting started,” Murphy and Met concluded.

You can read the full op-ed here.