Monday 16 December 2019

Oprah joins Clooneys in donating $500,000 to march against guns

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Mark Molloy

Oprah Winfrey has pledged to donate $500,000 (€406,000) to the "inspiring" survivors of the Florida shooting who have organised national protests against gun violence in the US.

The talk show host matched a donation made by George and Amal Clooney to the students behind next month's March For Our Lives rally in Washington, who have urged immediate political action on gun control, saying: "We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school."

She tweeted to her 40 million followers: "George and Amal, I couldn't agree with you more. I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to March For Our Lives."

The Clooneys said they were "inspired by the courage of these young men and women" and confirmed they would be attending the march.

"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 to help pay for this ground-breaking event," they said. "Our children's lives depend on it."

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw have also pledged to make a $500,000 donation.

However, 'The New York Times' reporter Julie Turkewitz tweeted that some students are "apprehensive" about the support being offered by Hollywood A-listers.

"The minute some people on the right see these millionaire names pop up with our movement, it's going to kind of alienate them," 18-year-old student Chris Grady told her. "The minute they don't see our faces any more and they just see the Hollywood elite, they're going to stop taking it seriously."

Student survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School atrocity have turned to activism. More than 90,000 supporters have expressed an interest on Facebook in attending the march and sister marches across the US.

"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," say the students.

"In the tragic wake of the 17 lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.

"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."

Stoneman Douglas students Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who are leading the campaign, have been vocal in demanding immediate action to end gun violence in schools.

"We are going to be the last mass shooting," Gonzalez told an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale. "We are going to change the law."

Hogg also urged lawmakers to intervene: "We are children; you guys are the adults. You need to take some action."

Irish Independent

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