The students who survived a mass shooting at their Florida high school last week have raised more than $3.5 million since the attack and say they plan to put the money toward a “long-term effort” to reform gun laws.
More than 18,000 people have donated nearly $1.5 million to the “#NeverAgain” campaign and the upcoming March For Our Lives, both of which were organized by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., according to the Miami Herald.
Those donations were followed by a $500,000 donation from George and Amala Clooney, who also plan to participate in the pro-gun control March in Washington, D.C., next month.
The Clooneys’ donation was followed by matching donations from Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.
A spokeswoman for March For Our Lives told the Herald that the $3.5 million raised will first be used to help fund the event in Washington and remaining funds will be put toward the “long-term” gun control effort.
“Donations will be used to pay the expenses associated with the March For Our Lives gathering in Washington, D.C., and to provide resources for young people organizing similar marches across the country,” the spokeswoman said. “Any leftover funds will go towards supporting a continuing, long-term effort by and for young people to end the epidemic of mass shootings that has turned our classrooms into crime scenes.”
Jeff Kasky, the father of one of the outspoken survivors of the shooting, told the Herald that the Clooneys have assisted the group of teenagers in hiring attorneys to help establish a charitable foundation to manage the donations, as well as hiring a public relations firm. But Kasky stressed that “not a single one” of the donors has attempted to take charge of the group’s efforts.
“Nobody is pulling the strings for these kids,” Kasky told the newspaper. “I have to make clear: [Clooney] is not directing them, nor is anybody. I don’t know if they’ve even spoken. But at least some pressure is off them.”
The students have also sought assistance from organizers of the Women’s March in planning the Washington event. The planners of that event expect up to 500,000 attendees, according to permit applications filed this week.
Survivors of the deadly shooting, which left 17 people dead and multiple others injured, have emerged as strong advocates for gun control in the wake of the attack.
Some of the survivors traveled to Florida’s state capitol this week to encourage lawmakers to take up gun control reform, and students also took center stage at a CNN town hall Wednesday, questioning lawmakers on the future of gun control legislation and pushing them to refuse future donations from the National Rifle Association.