A group of students from the South Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed, have raised $3.5 million and are putting together a game plan to keep pressure on pro-gun politicians and the National Rifle Association, the Miami Herald reported.
The students, from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, had initially had hoped to raise $1 million. But they have now brought in more than three times that from donations by 18,000 people backing their #NeverAgain movement and the planned March For Our Lives, an anti-gun rally scheduled for next month in Washington D.C., according to the newspaper.
Hollywood celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and George Clooney have pledged $500,000 each.
"Donations will be used to pay the expenses associated with the (March 24) March For Our Lives gathering in Washington, D.C., and to provide resources for young people organizing similar marches across the country," a spokeswoman for the rally 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."
The students were not even going to seek donations at first, but when they began to organize the rally the money came pouring in, the newspaper noted.
"They're being directed by people with knowledge of how to responsibly spend this money and it's going to be very transparent," said Jeff Kasky, whose son, Cameron, is helping put together the effort. "Every penny is going to be accounted for."
And Kasky said not one of the celebrity donors has dictated what the students should do.
"These people putting their money in — not a single one of them has said anything along the lines of 'I'll donate but you have to listen to what I say.' Nobody is pulling the strings for these kids," Kasky said. "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."
Students are being assisted in planning for the March 24 rally in the nation's capitol, the newspaper noted. A permit application filed Monday shows organizers are expecting 500,000 people at the rally.
Meanwhile a gofundme page set up as a fund for the victims of the shooting has raised more than $2 million.
That money has come from about 29,000 donors.
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