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High Profile Celebs Donate Big Bucks to March for Our Lives

Four donations totaling $2 million are on the way for March for Our Lives, a planned demonstration to take place in Washington D.C. and across the United States on March 24th. March for Our Lives is a protest against the political inaction allowing gun violence to continue to become a regular occurrence in schools across the country.

The donors of such a generous sum are George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Oprah. Clooney was the first to announce that he would be contributing $500,000 and his own presence at the march, swiftly followed by matching contributions from the other three.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School. 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,” Clooney wrote in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, February 12th.

Survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre have been vocal in their criticism of “thoughts and prayers” coming from politicians who have regularly voted against any attempts to introduce tougher gun laws. The students believe stricter regulations could have prevented the deaths of the 17 people who were murdered in the attack.

Once the donations come in, the event will have raised more than $2.7 million, nearly triple its proposed $1 million goal on GoFundMe.

“In every single city, we are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives. This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected. At this point, you’re either with us or you’re against us,” said Cameron Kasky, one of the leaders of March for Our Lives, in an interview with ABC.

“Not one more,” reads the March’s mission statement. “We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students.”

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Can Grassroots Activism Make a Difference?

Grassroot Activism
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We see people out on the streets every day holding picket signs or marching for a cause.  The question is really whether any of this does a bit of good.  If not, what’s the point?  Nobody wants to yell and scream for no reason.  So, can grassroots activism make a difference?

The answer, from what we can tell, is yes.  Obviously not all activists will be heard, and not all causes take off.  However, when they do, change happens.

A good example of this is the change in police policy after many people complained about aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics.  It didn’t change overnight, but took grassroots efforts to get people to understand why these tactics were racist and discriminatory.  The New York City police officers were allowed to stop and frisk anyone they believed looked suspicious.  That led directly to racial profiling.

This past summer, the New York City Council and a federal judge made changes to rectify the situation.  “Crowds of people rallied every day outside the courthouse and let their voices be heard as legislators passed bills creating an inspector general to oversee the police department and a legal path for New Yorkers to challenge discriminatory policing,” according to “The Chronicle of Philanthropy.”

The fact that actual changes occurred based on a grassroots movement shows that it really can work.  However, it involves a lot of planning, organizing, rallying and hard work.  In this case, many different small organizations were brought together to form a larger coalition.  Together their voices were stronger and louder.

One of the things philanthropists need to keep in mind is that they should not give up once the media moves on to the next big thing.  The fight is never totally over.  Stopping one type of discriminatory practice does not end discrimination.  There is always more work to do.  That may sound daunting, but it’s the truth.

The good news is that we are seeing more young people get involved in trying to effect social change.  They are joining the movement via social media and in person.  With all the new support, perhaps big changes are on the horizon.