On Saturday, gun reform activists will gather in Washington, D.C. and cities across the nation to demand that politicians reform America's gun laws. The demonstration's mission statement is simple: "Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school." Knowing who organized the March for Our Lives in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead last month, makes that mission statement even more heart-wrenching.
The march's website says it was "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." Survivors of the Parkland shooting, who call themselves Never Again MSD, organized the event alongside the gun control nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety.
Emma González, one of the Parkland survivors leading the surge in student activism against gun violence, wrote a note on the March for Our Lives website saying Saturday's gathering isn't a political rally. "It’s literally a march for our lives," González wrote. "I believe the young people in this country can change the world. And wouldn’t that be something?" She's also been spreading the word about the march on social media, along with other Parkland survivors.
The March for Our Lives GoFundMe page (which has nearly reached its $3.8 million goal) says Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky was also a founding organizer of the march and the #NeverAgain movement. The page says half the donations will go toward the march in D.C. and the other half will provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the Valentine's Day shooting.
González and Kasky's classmate, David Hogg, reminded people organizing local marches via Twitter to have elected officials present at their rallies to register people to vote. "This isn't just voting — THIS IS VOTING TO SAVE LIVES," he wrote.
Another survivor who's been active in the post-Parkland organizing, Sarah Chadwick, announced that the group is hosting a March For Our Lives Q&A on Thursday. People can submit their question on Twitter using the hashtag #AskMSDAnything.
The advocacy group partnering with the survivors has been fighting for gun reform since 2014. Everytown estimated that more than 700 student-led marches will take place on Saturday. John Feinblatt, the group's president, said in a statement:
"A month after Parkland, the NRA’s allies in Congress keep talking about everything but the real issue — the too-easy access to guns in this country. Bending over backwards to not talk about gun violence is exactly what the NRA wants, but it’s not what the American people want. The midterms are coming up, and if Congress caves to the NRA this time, voters will throw them out."
Multiple celebrities have supported the march as well, from Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney — who collectively donated $1 million to the march — to Justin Bieber, who tweeted his support. Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Common, and Vic Mensa will all perform at the March for Our Lives in D.C.
The rally's website has a handy map that allows you to find the march closest to you. All you have to do is type in your postcode or city and it will show you exactly where to be if you want to march on Saturday. The rally in the nation's capital starts at 10 a.m., but the times vary depending on the location.
The March for Our Lives website says "every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last. We live in fear." The page adds: "It doesn’t have to be this way."