In the days following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead, a group of teenagers assembled and decided they’d had enough.
Armed with hashtags and an anti-gun violence message, the shooting survivors planned Saturday’s March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., calling for legislation “to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”
Already the event has expanded to include more than 800 “sibling marches” in cities around the world.
Here is what you need to know about the rallies, including how they started, how to participate and more.
Who Put It Together?
Within days of the Parkland massacre, Stoneman Douglas students Jaclyn Corin, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Emma 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.”
Why They Started It
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.”
Details About the March
The Washington march will begin on Saturday at noon on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 3rd and 12th streets NW. The route is viewable in map form here.
In addition to the student speakers, a group of celebrities will join them on stage including Miley Cyrus, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others.
Hundreds of other marches are also set for Saturday around the country and the world. Those demonstrations are searchable via the March for Our Lives website, either by city or ZIP code.
These rallies come not long after a large-scale student walkout at schools nationwide.
How to Get Involved
Those who want to learn more about March for Our Lives or how to contribute can do so on the event website.
Beyond Saturday’s rallies, the site has links to social media resources specific to their anti-gun violence message as well as information on voter registration, to encourage other forms of participation
“This is the first march, but I can guarantee it will not be the last,” Wind, one of the Parkland students, said during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation. “We will be marching for the 17 we lost at our school. We will be marching for everyone we lost at the Newtown Sandy Hook shooting, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, in San Bernardino, Orlando at the Pulse shooting and at Las Vegas. This is only the beginning.”