March 24 (UPI) — Student activists are set to continue their push for an end to gun violence on Saturday, as thousands are expected to join the March for Our Lives organized in cities across the country and world.
The growing movement against gun violence was sparked by the survivors-turned-activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., who have challenged both lawmakers and the National Rifle Association. Their response to the shooting deaths of 17 people at their South Florida school has moved other U.S. teenagers to similarly call for gun-control reform.
Though marches are scheduled to take place in dozens of cities, the most-anticipated gathering will kick off around midday in Washington, D.C. Half a million people are expected to march through the streets of the nation’s capital.
Several prominent student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High will speak at the Washington rally. Three survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting joined a couple hundred others for a similar demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel on Friday.
“What these [Stoneman Douglas] kids have done has been so impressive,” Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group that organizes voter registration drives, told the Sun Sentinel. “Their voices have had an impact across generations, across races, across people who aren’t even old enough to vote and who aren’t usually thought of as civically aware.”
There are a total of 843 related protests planned for Saturday, at least one in every state and every continent except Antarctica. A map of the hundreds of scheduled protests can be found at the March for Our Lives website.
According to the March for Our Lives mission statement, the protesters “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”
Although the official protest language doesn’t offer specifics on gun control measures, many of the protesters want high-powered firearms like the AR-15 assault rifle to be outlawed. The student activists have also called for solutions such as bullet-proof glass in school windows and doors.