Wealthy donors do not invalidate the gun control movement

It ridiculous to suggest that the Never Again movement is invalid merely because wealthy donors have given money.

I am a student. A 15-year-old girl from Southwestern Pennsylvania, a figure skater, a history buff, and a student activist. I helped organize my school’s walkout on March 14, where upwards of 1,000 students participated. I believe in the March For Our Lives, and I would like to address a point some use to try and discredit the movement. 

When people want to ignore the issue of gun violence and the marches protest it, they sometimes claim that this protest isn’t what it seems. No, they scream. It is a Hollywood/George Soros/Liberal-funded and organized protest of clueless teens who are being manipulated and brainwashed into the movement. It is as if they believe that we as teenagers couldn’t possibly plan such a movement alone. And true, we couldn’t do it alone. This movement was born in the moment of culmination of years of anger over thoughts and prayers being the only response to an issue that kills 38,000 Americans per year.

The students at Parkland did not have time to learn how to apply for a permit. Their classmates were shot in front of them, so they leapt into the political world and didn’t look back. We are teenagers. And we did have help. We had help from people all across the country, people who were fed up with the status quo and the ridiculous notion that nothing could be done. We had help from people who let protesters stay in their homes, people who helped obtain permits, people who registered citizens to vote. We had help from donors such as Oprah Winfrey, who gave $500,000 to the cause. We had help from activist groups who gave us the tools necessary to succeed.

Yes, we got help. And we are grateful for it. But there is a reason that all the speaking slots were for students. This is a student-led movement. The ideas are ours. The movement is ours. So essentially, my point is this: we are trying to change the world. If you want to book our hotel rooms, it’s fine by me.