LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Thousands of people are expected to march in downtown Los Angeles today in solidarity with the Florida high school mass shooting survivors to advocate for stronger gun control laws.
The march is one of hundreds taking place around the world in support of the main March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. Other marches are also taking part around Los Angeles County, including in Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Burbank, Pico Rivera, Long Beach and Santa Clarita.
``The status quo has failed profoundly and each death that occurs because of gun violence is the result of inaction on the part of our leaders,'' Gavin Pierce, a Los Angeles-area college student who helped organize the downtown march, said earlier this month during a news conference at City Hall. ``For too long, this has been a discussion, and for too long we have been stuck in this gruesome cycle. Students are marching because they have been failed by older generations.''
The downtown march is set to begin east of Pershing Square at 10 a.m. and end with a rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall. Mayor Eric Garcetti and comedian Amy Schumer are among the scheduled speakers.
The March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and its affiliated marches around the world that now number more than 840, were organized or inspired by some student survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 people dead on Feb. 14. The carnage was allegedly carried out by a 19-year-old former student who had legally purchased an assault rifle.
Since it was announced, the Washington march and its sister marches have received a significant amount of financial support from celebrities, including actor George Clooney and director Steven Spielberg.
``Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,'' Clooney said in February. ``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 groundbreaking event. Our children's lives depend on it.''
Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, later matched that donation, pledging another $500,000. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation chief, also announced a $500,000 donation in conjunction with his wife, Marilyn. Oprah Winfrey also offered up $500,000.
``These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we've had enough and our voices will be heard,'' Winfrey wrote on her Twitter page.
Student organizers of the local march were joined by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, a survivor of the Columbine school massacre and the husband of a victim of the 2011 Seal Beach mass shooting for a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall on March 12 to promote the downtown march.
``I want to say to the students who've assembled here how profoundly inspiring you all are,'' said Feuer. ``All of us should be joining together on March 24 for the March For Our Lives. I know I intend to join the students.''
According to the event's Facebook page, about 16,000 people have said they plan on attending the downtown L.A. march, with another 33,000 indicating they are interested in attending.
Celebrities Connie Britton, Olivia Wilde, Skai Jackson, and Yara Sahadi are also expected to appear at the downtown event.
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