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Kick Butts Day is a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Kick Butts Blog

Kick Butts by hosting a rally!

Posted by Madison Larimore on 29 Jan 2016

In anticipation of Kick Butts Day, we ask advocates to show us how and why they kick butts by sharing their story.

Our Central Youth Advocate of the Year, Madison, recently kicked butts by planning an Anti-Tobacco Rally! She shares her story and provides tips for planning your own successful rally!

With a megaphone in one hand and a sign in the other, I led a group of 80 youth advocates to our state capitol.

As we marched, I couldn’t recall another time when I had felt more empowered. And when a man blew smoke in my face, I never felt so intimidated. But I knew I was taking part in something bigger than myself, something important.

That was two years ago at the No Limits Nebraska March and Rally, which occurs annually as part of of Kick Butts Day. No Limits is Nebraska’s first youth-led anti-tobacco movement. I was lucky because by the time I was co-chair of the No Limits Youth Board, the March and Rally was already a tradition. I was able to help plan and implement an event that already had years of development.

A few key components made our rally a success:

Knowing Your Key Messages

Picking a guiding theme and supporting key messages for the whole rally is vital to ensuring the event is as impactful as possible. It’s rare to have so many advocates in the same place at the same time, and it’s important that these opportunities for a unified call to action do not go to waste.

Madison interviewing with her local media outlet during the event.

When picking a theme, think about your group’s goals for the year and who your target audience is. What do you want them to take away from the event?

The media is the best way to reach the greater public, so you want to be sure to reach out to them in advance through press releases. Be prepared for interviews, and remember to direct your answers back to your key messages.

Using Personal Stories

Develop your theme and key messaging as a group, but allow for each advocate to take ownership.

Allow time before the rally for advocates to personalize their own signs, think of chants and develop their own talking points to highlight key messages. Although we are passionate about the same cause, we each have a personal story that led us there.

At our No Limits events, key decision makers are also the target audience. We spend the morning of Kick Butts Day in meetings with our state senators and representatives to share our key messages and personal stories with them.

Marching the Streets

After our meetings, we march a pre-approved route around the surrounding downtown area.

My advice when you march: Make sure you fill out the space. Split into two groups to cover as much area as possible, and then unite in the middle to march directly to the capitol in one large group.

Sharing the Message

Once we arrive, the rally is kicked off with our speakers. We usually have two or three: one expert or key decision maker, and a youth advocate. Each speaker is prepared ahead of time to speak to the theme for the year.

It wasn’t until my first rally that I realized I was an activist. You can be one, too. Check out the Anti-Tobacco Rally in the Activities Database today and get started planning your rally today!


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About Madison LarimoreMadison is the 2015 Central Region Youth Advocate of the Year. Madison became involved in tobacco control four years ago after witnessing the harm tobacco use caused her own family. Madison served on the Youth Board of No Limits, Nebraska’s youth-led anti-tobacco movement, and continues to fight tobacco as a freshman at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.
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