George and Amal Clooney offer $500,00 to gun control student rally
"Our children’s lives depend on it,” Clooney said in a statement. Source: Shutterstock

The power couple and other celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, will be donating US$500,000 each to the “March for Our Lives” student-organised march taking place all over the United States next month.

The actor and human rights lawyer will also be attending the rally in support of gun control, Reuters reported. It is unclear whether Winfrey and Spielberg will do the same.

They are inspired by the “courage and eloquence” of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where an ex-student opened fire at students and staff last weekend, killing 17 and wounding others.

”Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating 500,000 dollars to help pay for this groundbreaking event,” Clooney said in a statement.

“Our children’s lives depend on it.”

After the Clooneys’ pledge yesterday, film director Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw together with Winfrey each said they would match the Clooneys’ donation.

In an emailed statement, Spielberg and Capshaw said: “The young students in Florida and now across the country are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages.”

The rally, planned by these latest, youngest gun control activists, will be in Washington and elsewhere, including Denver and Colorado, according to the March For Our Lives Facebook group. Satellite marches are planned for cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas as well.

The students insist the march isn’t political. Instead, its mission is “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”

America has long grappled with a powerful gun lobby thwarting any attempt to impose tighter restrictions on gun ownership. Despite national outcries and an  “unparalleled epidemic of gun violence” with 30 mass shootings this year alone, there are extraordinary obstacles when any changes to gun laws are proposed.

March for Our Lives organisers said they cannot wait for politicians to take action. March 24 is to demand that their lives and safety become a priority.

Yesterday, Reuters reported several dozens of Florida students travelled to the state capital, to directly appeal for an assault weapons ban. While they were en route, the Florida Legislature voted down a motion to consider a ban on many semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines.

The New York Times also reported students walking out of classes, stopping traffic and giving speeches from California to Florida in a bid to denounce adults for their inaction.

Students have taken things into their own hands before following mass shootings at their schools. In 2001, survivors of a high school shooting in Columbine lobbied chain store Kmart to stop selling ammunition. The store previously sold handgun ammunition, alongside garden hoses and microwave popcorn.

A scene in the Bowling for Columbine documentary by Michael Moore had shown survivors Mark Taylor and Richard Castaldo going to Kmart’s headquarters ostensibly to ask for a refund on the bullets still lodged in their bodies.

In an op-ed for CNN, Parkland student and now one of the rally’s organisers Cameron Kasky wrote: “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises.”

“And so, I’m asking — no, demanding — we take action now.”

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