In the five weeks since 17 students and faculty members were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the student survivors have wasted no time turning their heartbreak and anger into action.
Just four days after the tragedy, student and survivor Emma González gave an impassioned speech calling for reasonable gun legislation during a rally in Fort Lauderdale. "Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," González said. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."
And that's exactly what they've done in the days and weeks since Feb. 14. On the one-month anniversary of the shooting, student-lead school walkouts took place across America, Europe, Central America and Australia. And this weekend, activists and allies will make their voices heard once again at the March For Our Lives.
Here's everything you need to know about the March For Our Lives and how you can support these students in their fight against gun violence.
The March For Our Lives will take place on Saturday, March 24. The main event is in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m., but there are currently 823 marches scheduled worldwide. To find the march closest to you, visit the March For Our Lives 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," according to its website.
Participation is open to anyone who, like González, calls BS on the political talking point that guns aren't the problem. The march has received financial donations from the likes of George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. Earlier this month, students from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, posted on Facebook that they had “organized a network of host families that live along the DC metro system that can host out-of-town students for the march.”
As the March For Our Lives organizers explain on the website, they support the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms — but the epidemic of mass shootings is clear evidence that the gun control laws currently in place are grossly inadequate.
"Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students," the organizers wrote in their online mission statement. "In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now."
What can I do to help?
Call, email and write to your elected officials to demand support for gun control reform. Sign the organizers’ petition, which calls on Congress to pass legislation to address gun violence, here. You can also raise awareness on social media by using the hashtags #March4OurLives, #Enough, #NotOneMore and #NeverAgain.
Registration is encouraged but not required. You can sign up here.
This is a marathon, not a sprint — keep up the pressure on your elected officials, and most important, use your vote to make a statement when midterm elections are held on Nov. 6.
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