Some determined Queens high schoolers are heading to the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C., on Saturday after raising thousands of dollars to fund their trip.
Students from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village started the GoFundMe page on March 8 with the hope of raising $3,000, but later raised it to $4,000 after their goal was met in just five hours. They reached their second goal in less than a week.
Marisa Kabas, who created the GoFundMe and described herself as a “friend of Van Buren High School,” said the students want to show solidarity with the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The March for Our Lives event, organized by survivors of the Parkland massacre, aims to push Congress to enact gun control measures in order to protect students from gun violence in schools. A sister march, one of more than 800 planned worldwide, will be held in Manhattan on the same day.
The Martin Van Buren High School students said they want to make sure their voices are heard on the issue of gun control.
“Participating in the march and in democracy in general is empowering and making our school stronger,” student Abu Sufiyan Hamayoun wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“It’s important to remember that students have a voice too, and we need to use it to spread awareness and make changes. Guns are not our future,” student Kanza Choudhry wrote.
A total of 51 people — mostly students plus some staff and alumni — will be able to attend thanks to the fundraiser.
Kabas thanked everyone who donated in an update to the page on March 14, the same day that students across the city took part in the National School Walkout against gun violence.
“The students of MVB HS and I will be forever grateful,” she wrote. “And just to drive home how committed these students are to this cause, more than 1,000 from their school walked out this morning and observed 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 Parkland victims. On [Saturday], they’ll continue their walk in solidarity.”
The money the students raised will go toward a bus, food and shirts for the event.