The organizers of March For Our Lives, the student-led protest against gun violence planned for March 24 in Washington, D.C., expect a crowd of approximately 500,000 to turn out for the event. But unlike previous demonstrations, many if not most of the participants making their way to the nation’s capital will be students, many of them minors, who are not able to book hotels or other lodging for themselves without a parent.
A group of students from Maryland may have the solution. Gabrielle Zwi, 17, Kate Lebrun, 18, Michaela Hoenig, 17, and another classmate from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda have set up an impromptu home-sharing network for fellow teens traveling to D.C. without their parents, according to reporting from Curbed.
In about two days, the students set up a portal for potential hosts and students that needed hosting, using Facebook and GoogleForms.
As of Thursday evening, the group had secured potential housing for hundreds of teens in homes, churches, and synagogues in the D.C. metropolitan area, and had nearly 100 students signed up to stay, including a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that prompted the march.
“A lot of students are feeling empowered, even though their age might stop them from doing certain things,” Zwi, whose school experienced a code blue drill when an active shooter was reported at a local mall in 2016, and a bomb threat just last month, told Curbed. “We’re here to help them do that.”
She added, “The majority of us high schoolers will be voting in the next presidential election. We’ll have a voice legally soon, but we can have a voice socially now.”
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Kids under 18 need to provide their parent’s phone number and a permission slip to participate.
The March For Our Lives is organized by five students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who survived the mass shooting that killed 17 on February 14.
“The kids who need to take part in this are kids, everyday kids just like us,” organizer Emma Gonzalez, 18, said during an interview with ABC News’s This Week on February 18. “All students should realize that a school shooting could happen anywhere.”
“People keep asking us, ‘What about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn’t come?’” Cameron Kasky, an 11th grader, remarked to ABC.
“This is it,” he added.
“March For Our Lives” is taking place on March 24. For more information go to marchforourlives.com.