Thousands of students across Maryland boarded trains and buses and hopped in cars heading to Washington this morning to join what is expected to be a crowd of 500,000 at a March For Our Lives rally sparked by the recent school shootings.
The school safety and anti-gun violence movement has been led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where a shooting last month left 17 dead at the school.
The Maryland students are marching not just in honor of those who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, but also for the two students who were shot Tuesday by a gunman at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County.
Here’s what you need to know about today’s march:
« The March For Our Lives Rally is taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. between 3rd street and 12th street NW. The rally started at noon.
« “Sibling” rallies are taking place around the country. Anna Hilger, a freshman at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, has organized a Baltimore rally at City Hall at 10 a.m. for students who don’t want to go all the way to D.C.
« A massive crowd of Anne Arundel County students and others filled Layers Mall in Annapolis.
« The march is taking place less than two days after the parents of Jaelynn Willey, the 16-year-old girl wounded in the school shooting at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland, took her off life support and she died.
« A group of more than 100 Great Mills students, alumni and teachers made their way from St. Mary’s County to Washington for the rally. After the deadly school shooting, some said they felt obligated to march now that they too are members of the grim — yet growing — club of students who have seen blood stain the floors of their hallways, classrooms or playgrounds.
« Seventeen Excel Academy students gathered outside Baltimore City Hall to catch a bus to the rally. The students were ready to send a message in Washington about gun violence, which has claimed the lives of seven of their classmates since last year. Pugh announced the city would be providing 60 buses — she hoped for 3,000 kids — during a national school walkout earlier this month.
« Cardinal Shehan School, the Baltimore middle school choir whose powerful rendition of “Rise Up” went viral last fall, performed at the anti-gun violence protest with Andra Day and Common.
« Major networks are planning all day coverage of the D.C. rally, as well as some focus on the sister rallies taking place in dozens of cities across the country, beginning as early as 6 a.m. on CNN.
« Basketball player Carmelo Anthony, the television network MTV and the civil rights organization NAACP all said they were helping to send Baltimore area students to the March for Our Lives rally in Washington on Saturday. Anthony tweeted: “Partnering with @MTV @NAACP and my city of Bmore to support #MarchForOurLives,” Anthony, a Baltimore native, posted on Twitter Friday. “Sending over 4,500 kids from Baltimore to the March tomorrow... We've all had #ENOUGH! Proud of our youth for standing up gun violence.”
« Comedy Central filmed a television episode focused on the March for Our Lives rally at a Rockville home where suburban and Baltimore students gathered.
« In the age of school shootings and other threats, schools are being designed and built with security in mind.