More than 185,000 students from more than 2,500 schools were expected to participate in Wednesday’s national protest against gun violence, and their efforts were met with praise from many celebrities on social media — including Chris Evans, Amy Schumer, Kerry Washington, Zendaya and others.
“Time for gun laws to change. … [N]o one is saying you cant own a gun, your right to ‘bear arms shall not be infringed’. Just looking for common sense reform!” the Captain America star added.
Others echoed that same sense of admiration for the participating teens.
“Proud of all of you! Never give up! You are THE change!” Miley Cyrus tweeted. “So amazing to see young people take back their power and USE it!”
Likewise Washington wrote on Twitter, “Dear Students, I stand with you. I support you.”
On Instagram, Julianne Moore shared a photo of a group of protesters in New York City with the caption, “THANK YOU STUDENTS.”
“I am so proud,” wrote Zendaya on her Twitter account, “I stand with every student today.”
As part of the protest, students across the country exited their classrooms at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes — a minute for each of the victims killed during the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“There’s gun violence in our schools and on our streets and we want to show the members of Congress and other adults in our lives that we are fed up with being unsafe,” Madison Thomas, the national college coordinator for Women’s March Youth Empower, told PEOPLE.
Communities where other mass shootings occurred — such as Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — were also expected to hold school walkouts.
“We are proud of this generation’s inner strength and fearless gumption to let it shine,” Mariska Hargitay posted on Wednesday on Twitter. “You are the change we wish to see in the world. THANK YOU.”
• With ELAINE ARADILLAS and LOUISA FRAHM