Oprah Winfrey donates $500,000 to March For Our Lives after school shooting

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Oprah Winfrey has decided to distance herself from the controversial documentary about the sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

Oprah Winfrey is stepping up in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

The media mogul is following George and Amal Clooney’s lead and matching their $500,000 donation to March For Our Lives. The event was created in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and teachers were gunned down.

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“George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more,” Winfrey tweeted, in reference to the statement made by the couple announcing their donation to the movement. “I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to March For Our Lives. 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.”

The March For Our Lives group is in the process of planning a rally in Washington, DC on March 24 in order “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address…gun issues,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

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“No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country,” said the group.

Some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said that they might not go back to their school at all until the nation takes action on gun control.

“Our community and nation have taken too many bullets to the heart, and now is the time for us to stand up,” said David Hogg, a senior at the school, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I will not feel safe going back to school myself until reasonable mental health care legislation and gun control legislation is passed,” he said.

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Tuesday George and Amal Clooney stated they would make their donation in the name of their young twins, Ella and Alexander. They have also pledged to attend the event.

Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn have also announced a $500,000 donation to March For Our Lives.

Students taking the lead on gun reform

Less than a week after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students are stepping to the forefront of the gun control debate with plans for school walkouts and a march in Washington.

The Women’s March EMPOWER branch will kick things off with a call for “students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies” to take part in a walkout on March 14. Those participating are encouraged to walk out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes (one minute for each life lost in the massacre), according to NBC News.

The walkout, according to the branch, will “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

Connecticut high school student Lane Murdock, who lives just 20 minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School, has started a petition for a walkout on April 20 to commemorate the 19th anniversary after the Columbine shooting.

“Nothing has changed since Columbine, let us start a movement that lets the government know the time for change is now,” Murdock wrote in an online petition.

Murdock said that she wanted kids and teens to be able to have a voice, since it is their lives that are being directly affected by school shootings.

“Gun violence surrounds us. I remember my first lockdown drill as a normal thing,” she said. “I saw how Newtown affected so many around me, and it hurt. It hurts that a shooter can go into a school [and] kill little kids, and adults just let it fade into the background like white noise.”

The shooter’s fate

According to both the Associated Press and ABC News, Nikolas Cruz was part of a group called the Republic of Florida, which wants to create a white-only state in Florida.

Jordan Jereb, the leader of the group, told the AP that Cruz “acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he’s solely responsible for what he just did.”

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Jereb also said that while Cruz was a part of the group, he did not know him personally.

The group describes itself as a “white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics” and holds paramilitary drills, which Cruz attended in Tallahassee.

Cruz was also an active part of a chat group rife with racist messages targeting Black people, Mexicans and Jews.

In the private Instagram chat group, named”Murica (American flag emoji) (eagle emoji) great” by Cruz, CNN reports that Cruz talked about killing blacks by cutting their necks, keeping blacks in chains and killing Mexicans.

According to NBC News, Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is looking to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole.