Student survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Florida high school are planning March for Our Lives protests in 50 cities to demand increased gun-control legislation – and now the effort has the backing of major left-wing activist groups and celebrities.
March for Our Lives is no longer just a student-run social media effort. Now organizations such as MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March LA, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the American Federation of Teachers are fueling the movement, according to BuzzFeed.com.
The groups told BuzzFeed they’re assisting the students with planning, strategy and logistics for protests planned in more than 50 U.S. cities on March 24. A main march on Washington, D.C., is also planned for the same day.
Giffords is an organization that advocates for gun control and was launched by former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2012. Giffords is working alongside Everytown for Gun Safety, an anti-gun organization bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“[Giffords] will be lending support in any way the students need, especially helping top operationalize these marches from logistics to programming,” a spokesman told BuzzFeed. “We applaud these students for demonstrating incredible leadership and demanding that our lawmakers do more to help protect Americans from gun violence.”
The far-left activist organization MoveOn.org said it is asking its millions of members to promote March for Our Lives on social media and go to the March 24 events. The organization also said it is offering to provide portable toilets, security and other logistics support to the students. MoveOn.org, funded by billionaire George Soros, claims it has 8 million members across America. It has most recently focused on pushing for impeachment of Trump. Last August, MoveOn.org promoted “Resistance Recess,” a campaign featuring “over 200 actions planned in 43 states … [in] opposition to Trump’s toxic agenda.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood says it’s “teaching and hosting trainings” for activists across America “to keep the momentum going so they don’t get burned out.”
Even Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is getting in on the action. She told BuzzFeed she’s staying in contact with survivors of the shooting and putting them in touch with lawmakers. Wasserman Schultz also helped student activists coordinate their Feb. 21 trip to Florida’s capitol to demand gun control.
“Wasserman Schultz said that because this is the first time many of the students have interacted with legislators, she advised them on communication strategy,” BuzzFeed reported.
The American Federation of Teachers, which helped to transport students and parents to Tallahassee for the Feb. 21 protest, is also lending its support.
“There are a lot of people who know how to put on a march in Washington, and we are here to help support the teens with that experience in terms of logistics and strategy but it’s still early and they have some time to figure that out,” AFT President Randi Weingarten told BuzzFeed News. “We will be here for that ‘oh s–t moment’ when they realize they need things like permits.”
Weingarten told the site that the gun-control activists will have a great deal of work cut out for them after the march.
AFT is also behind the “National School Walkout” scheduled for the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in April.
Weingarten explained that the ultimate objective is to grow the momentum into the November midterm elections. Some gun-control advocates are already spreading their message under the hashtag #VoteThemOut.
“We are marching towards midterms,” she said. “With their angst, anger and authenticity, these students have pierced through the normal polarization of this debate. This moment is different.”
The public relations firm 42West has been tasked with helping to manage media inquiries for the activists.
The March for Our Lives GoFundMe page has already received a flood of donations totaling more than $2.8 million in just nine days.
March for Our Lives has received $500,000 from Oprah Winfrey and another $500,000 from actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal.
Businessman Jeffrey Katzenberg, former CEO of Dreamworks, is pledging $500,000. Another half-million has been donated by the Italian luxury brand Gucci.
Other contributors include Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Chris and Camille Bently of the Bently Foundation.
Now Democrats are already using the movement to solicit donations “to help elect Democrats who will stand up to the gun lobby” this November.
A pitch from Missouri Democrat Jason Kander Wednesday told prospective contributors: “I’ve been so inspired by students from across the country who have raised their voice since the shooting in Parkland. Our young leaders are showing incredible courage, and they make me feel hopeful about our future. But the sad truth of the matter is that many of these students – whose lives are at risk because of our elected officials’ inaction on gun violence – are unable to vote in this year’s elections because they’re too young.
“Our young people need us to join them in this fight. They need us to support candidates who will do something about gun violence – by voting, volunteering, and donating. That’s what I’m asking you to do today. … If we don’t stand up for our young people, who will?”
March for Our Lives’ website states: “On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. March with us in Washington DC or march in your own community. On March 24, the collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.”