HeadCount has announced a new addition to the Participation Row activism village on Dead & Company’s summer tour, which kicks off today in Mansfield, Massachusetts. March For Our Lives, the movement and organization started by high school students who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, will have a booth at each Dead & Company show on the band’s upcoming summer tour. Deadheads visiting the booth will have a chance to meet alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and take photos with messages encouraging people to vote.
The collaboration started when Parkland students attended the Dead & Co. concert in Sunrise, Florida, and met the members of the band. Bob Weir encouraged the students to join forces with HeadCount in an impassioned speech about using this tragedy to affect real change. As he noted, “You kids are making quite a stir, and it’s focused. It’s not the kind of thing that anyone can argue with because you’re right.” He also made note to direct them toward HeadCount to help bolster their efforts. Watch Weir’s speech to the Parkland students below.
Following their encounter with the Parkland kids at Dead & Company in Sunrise, HeadCount later conducted voter registration efforts at the March For Our Lives demonstrations around the country on March 24th, registering more than 5,000 people to vote just that day. In addition, student activist David Hogg worked with HeadCount to organize voter registration drives at more than 1,000 high schools in the last few weeks. Considering all the good that’s already been done by the Parkland Students’ and HeadCount’s efforts, making March For Our Lives a featured guest on Participation Row was a natural next step for Headcount.
Explains HeadCount executive director Andy Bernstein, “We know Bobby and the whole band were really moved by the Parkland kids, and working with these kids to organize voter registration drives has been an amazing experience for HeadCount. So bringing them on Dead & Co tour seemed like a perfect way to tie this all together.”
The Participation Row activism village, co-organized by HeadCount and the environmental group REVERB, has been part of every Dead & Co tour dating back to the band’s debut in Fall 2015. March for Our Lives will be joined at various stops on the tour by “Dead Family” non-profit organizations including Wavy Gravy’s SEVA, the Rainforest Action Network, and the Owsley Stanley Foundation.
Fans who take actions with three non-profits at Participation Row will also have a chance to win a signed D’Angelico guitar and receive a numbered, limited edition VOTE pin. The pins, designed in the style of the famous “LOVE” sculpture but with a Steal Your Face skull as the “O,” were donated by the Dead-centric accounting firm Schulman Lobel. A charity auction at each tour stop will also raise funds for the participating organizations. To date, HeadCount’s Dead & Co. auctions have generated over $500,000 for over 40 different charities.