On Saturday, students and activists will rally in Washington, DC for the March For Our Lives to protest against gun violence.
Planning for the rally (and 800-plus others worldwide) began the week after a Feb. 14 school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 14 students and three educators.
In the days that followed, student survivors quickly mobilized to form the #NeverAgain movement, and have emerged as national voices in the growing movement to reform US gun law. Since the shooting, Parkland survivors have met with Florida state legislators, challenged the NRA in a CNN town hall, organized protests in Tallahassee, and inspired thousands of students to participate in a National School Walkout on the shooting’s one-month anniversary.
“Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last,” says the march organizers’ website. “We live in fear. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
The pressure already appears to be working. In the immediate wake of the shooting, president Trump made promises about gun control, including proposals to raise the age-limit to purchase guns and to ban bump stocks, an accessory that allows guns to be fired more quickly. While he has not come through on some promises, on Friday evening, just hours ahead of the march, the Department of Justice announced its proposal to ban bump stocks. The announcement followed a tweet by the US president.
Here’s everything you need to know about the protest taking place this weekend:
What is the March for Our Lives?
March for Our Lives is a student-organized rally against gun violence that will take place Saturday, March 24 in Washington, DC, just blocks from the Capitol building. Organizers expect around 500,000 people to attend the march, according to the Washington Post.
As well as showing support for gun-violence victims and their families, organizers hope the rally will prompt legislative change in Congress. The mission statement on the march’s website reads:
School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing. The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.
Where and when will it take place?
The March for Our Lives is scheduled to begin at noon, though organizers expect demonstrators to begin gathering in the capital from very early in the morning.
Because so many people are expected to attend the event, there won’t be an actual march. Instead, protestors will rally along Pennsylvania Avenue from Third St NW to 12th St NW. The main stage for speeches and performances will be at Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the National Gallery of Art.
There will be pedestrian entrances at Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW; Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW; and Indiana Avenue and 7th Street, NW. There is a downloadable map at the March for Our Lives website.
There will also be over 800 rallies in solidarity taking place worldwide on Saturday.
Who is organizing the march?
The demonstration is being organized by #NeverAgain, the anti-gun violence movement started by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting including Emma González, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Sarah Chadwick, and many others.
Gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is helping the students plan and coordinate the event.
Organizers also have the support of other student groups across the US. “This movement is for kids and by kids,” it says on the event 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.”
Who else is involved?
The March for Our Lives has received financial support from a number of celebrities, including George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, studio exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Oprah Winfrey, all of whom pledged $500,000. Italian fashion brand Gucci pledged $500,000 in support as well
Ellen Degeneres, Chrissy Tiegen, John Legend, Josh Kushner (brother of President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner), Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony have also made large donations. Many others, like Kim Kardashian West, Mariah Carey, and Justin Timberlake, are publicly supporting the event and urging their follows to participate. On Monday, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Benn Platt released the song “Found/Tonight,” a mashup of Hamilton’s “The Story of Tonight” and Dear Evan Hansen’s “You Will Be Found,” and are donating part of the proceeds towards the march.
Businesses are pitching in as well: Ride-sharing app Lyft committed up to $1.5 million in free rides to anyone attending a March for Our Lives event in one of 50 cities across the US. Dating app Bumble banned imaged of guns on its platform and donated $100,000 to the cause. DC-area chef José Andrés announced an initiative called #FoodForOurLives, which will offer free or discounted meals to students under 18 with a valid ID at DC restaurants like Think Food Lab, Sweetgreen, Shake Shack, and Taco Bamba (among others) on Saturday until 5 pm.
Who will perform at the rally?
Event programming will include speeches from Stoneman Douglas students, anti-gun violence activists, and their supporters. None of the speakers at the DC rally will be over the age of 18.
Attendees can expect performances from Ariana Grande, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Andra Day, Common, and Vic Mensa. (Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Julianne Moore, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Kimmel and George and Amal Clooney plan to demonstrate alongside demonstrators as well.)
Programming will begin at noon and is expected to end around 3pm. The speeches and performances will be broadcast on 20 jumbotrons throughout the event area along Pennsylvania avenue.
If you’re unable to attend the rally and want to watch the speeches and performances, Adweek has a complete list of cable and broadcast network coverage throughout the day.
What is Stay Amped?
Ahead of the rally, on March 23, artists like Bebe Rexha, Lizzo, Fall Out Boy, and G-Easy will perform at Stay Amped, a concert to benefit Everytown for Gun Safety and Gabby Giffords’s Courage to Fight Gun Violence.
Tickets start at $50 for students, $100 for general admission, and go up to $175 for “Super Excellent Seats.” According to the event’s website, “For every Super Excellent Seat purchased, a ticket will be donated to a student activist attending the March for Our Lives rally from Parkland and elsewhere in the country.”
You can purchase tickets or make a donation on TicketFly.
How can I get involved?
Stoneman Douglas students created a GoFundMe page where supporters can donate to the movement. Half of the funds raised will go toward expenses associated with the march, and the other half will provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of Stoneman Douglas shooting via the Broward Education Foundation.
There is also an online petition to demand Congress pass laws to ban assault weapons, prohibit the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, and close loopholes in background check laws for gun sales.