The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, launched several student survivors into the national spotlight, and ever since, many of them have been organizing and advocating for change to U.S. gun laws. Now, one of those campaigns is asking for help. Those in favor of the Parkland students' message and mission can donate to the "Parkland March for Our Lives" on their GoFundMe page.
The online campaign has been organized by Casey Sherman, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, along with former MSD student Samantha Novick. Sherman described the mission of their march as a way "to support the national movement and march in Washington, D.C. while healing our devastated community through action."
In a clear allusion to the Declaration of Independence, Sherman wrote that the students will "march for our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And after noting that the students, family members, and community of Parkland have "shown its resilience," Sherman insisted that the fight is not over for them. When it comes to gun control and keeping young people safe, Sherman said: "We demand action – NOW."
The group is looking to raise $500,000 to cover the costs of their march, with any of the remainder to be donated to a set of as-yet-unannounced gun control advocacy groups.
A national march will also be taking place on the same day, March 24, as supporters of gun control legislation will join up in Washington, D.C. According to the national organization's website, March for Our Lives "is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar."
The mission statement goes on to insist that "school safety is not a political issue," and it makes clear that their calls for the guaranteed protection of all students nationwide is focused exclusively on gun control. The statement reads:
The mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.
Unlike previous recent mass shootings, the online advocacy so far appears to be effecting real change in the gun industry. Three major gun retailers — Dick's Sporting Goods, Walmart, and Kroger —have announced that they are raising the required age to purchase a gun at their stores from 18 to 21.
March for Our Lives has garnered public support from several A-list celebrities, including George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. Both have donated substantial sums of money to the organization. And the national "March for Our Lives" GoFundMe, which was organized by MSD student Cameron Kasky, has raised more than $2.8 million.
According to Kasky, half of those funds will "go toward the March for Our Lives Action Fund, a 501c4 that will cover expenses associated with the march taking place in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 24." The other half will "provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School via the Broward Education Foundation."
But the Parkland-specific GoFundMe — the one started by Sherman — will go specifically to the "March for Our Lives" that is taking place in Parkland, Florida. In her call for assistance, Sherman alluded to the hashtag #NeverAgain and wrote:
Never Again will senseless gun laws shatter our families. Never Again will students go to school in fear. Never Again will we stand idly by while those meant to serve us ignore our cries. We fight for those we lost — and we march for each other.