March 24, 2018 10:37 AM

On Saturday, across the country and the world, thousands of people rallied against gun violence in a demonstration organized by survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre last month.

March for Our Lives, put together by some of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — where 17 people were killed by a mass shooter on Feb. 14 — began at noon Saturday in Washington, D.C., where attendees proceeded through the heart of the nation’s capital.

The event inspired hundreds of “sibling marches” on Saturday, in other states and other countries, with those rallies beginning at various times Saturday.

More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the events, according to TIME.

In addition to the student speakers in D.C., a group of celebrities will join them on stage including Miley Cyrus, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others.

March for Our Lives in London
Stefan Rousseau/PA Images/Getty Images

How the March Began

Within days of the Parkland shooting, Stoneman Douglas students Jaclyn CorinCameron KaskyDavid HoggEmma Gonzalez and Alex Wind realized they shared a similar goal and came together to work to prevent more school shootings.

They created the March for Our Lives website and launched a movement from their homes.

During an interview with ABC News’ This Week on Sunday, Gonzelez emphasized the importance for all students to participate.

“The kids who need to take part in this are kids, everyday kids just like us,” she said. “All students should realize that a school shooting could happen anywhere.”

Protesters in Washington D.C.
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

According to the rally’s website, the current generation of students has grown up practicing drills and lockdowns at school while repeatedly watching mass shootings play out in other cities and states — a pattern of violence unique to America.

“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,” reads the event’s mission statement, in part.

“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.”

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