George Clooney supports the Parkland students and this weekend's March for Our Lives. But, he also wants people to remember that the movement isn't about celebrities — or adults, for that matter. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, reached out to George Clooney for an interview. The interview would have been published in The Guardian, which some of the students are guest-editing this week. The actor declined the interview, but George Clooney did write a moving letter to the Parkland students, explaining that the movement was about young people and their voices. The Guardian published Clooney's letter to Emma Dowd, Lauren Newman, and Rebecca Schneid, who are the co-editors-in-chief of their school paper, The Eagle Eye, and The Guardian's guest editors.
The students reached out to Clooney because he and Amal Clooney have previously expressed support for the March for Our Lives, which is taking place in various cities across the country on Saturday. The Clooneys donated $500,000 towards the March for Our Lives, an act that prompted Oprah to match the couple's generous donation. So while George Clooney is clearly invested in the cause, he wants to let the students speak for themselves. Here's part of what Clooney wrote to the Parkland students:
Amal and I are 100% behind you and will be marching in DC on the 24th, but we both feel very strongly that this is your march. Your moment. Young people are taking it to the adults and that has been your most effective tool. The fact that no adults will speak on the stage in DC is a powerful message to the world that if we can't do something about gun violence then you will. The issue is going to be this, anyone you ask would feel proud to be interviewed by you but it's so much more effective if it's young people.
Clooney's words are an important reminder that you don't need star power or fame to make a difference. As the Parkland survivors' actions show, you don't even need to be of voting age to fight for what you believe in. Clooney wrote that the message is "more effective" if it comes from the students themselves. After all, they're the ones who lived through a horrific tragedy, when a mass shooting at their high school left 17 people dead.
Many adults, famous or not, have decided to let the Parkland students speak for themselves about their experience and their views on gun control and safety. But the Clooneys and Oprah aren't the only public figures to donate money toward the students' cause. Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, as well as producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn, also matched the Clooneys' $500,000 donation.
The Parkland students' GoFundMe page set a $3.8 million goal for their fundraising efforts to plan the March for Our Lives. The donation page explains that the money would go toward planning the march and that "everything left over will be going to the victims' funds."
Barack and Michelle Obama also wrote a moving letter to the Parkland students, praising their "resilience, resolve, and solidarity" after the shooting. Here's a snippet from the Obamas' letter to the survivors:
Throughout history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may sometimes feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you.
Clooney's letter, like the one from the Obamas, places the focus back on the Parkland survivors. Their strength in planning the nationwide marches goes to show that people of any age and social status can make a difference. And messages like Clooney's are a reminder that sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen and lift up other people's voices.