WASHINGTON - As more than 500,000 activists prepare to descend upon the District for the March For Our Lives on Saturday, here's everything you need to know about the massive demonstration.
Why are people marching ?
The March For Our Lives is a protest against gun violence in response to the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The massacre ended with 17 people dead, including 14 students and three faculty members.
The march, spearheaded by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is to "demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today," according to the march's website. The March For Our Lives follows a national school walkout, which was held on March 14. The protest saw thousands of students across the country walk out of their schools in protest of gun violence.
Historians said the demonstrations were shaping up to be one of the largest youth protests in decades.
"Not one more. 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," the mission statement for March For Our Lives reads in part. "We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives."
Who will be at the march ?
Officials estimate 500,000 people will attend the March For Our Lives, rivaling the Women's March of January 2017 in size. While students are expected to make up the majority of those marching, they're garnering support from several powerful organizations, politicians and celebrities.
The March For Our Lives website states that celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Common, Vic Mensa, Andra Day, Miley Cyrus, Lin Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt will be joining students at the march and will perform for the crowd.
Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, and Steven Spielberg have donated money to support the event, while stars like Justin Bieber and Harry styles have also encouraged students to participate as well.
Politicians will also be out in force with the students, as Mayor Muriel Bowser joined in a video with Justin Timberlake to promote the walk and state she would be participating as well.
President Donald Trump will not be in Washington during the March For Our Lives as he left the District on Friday and headed to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.
Where will the march be held ?
The march was originally scheduled to take place at the National Mall, but a group for an unrelated event already had a permit, so the march will be held nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd Street (near the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial) and 12th Street Northwest (near the old Post Office Pavilion/Museum).
The March For Our Lives is slated to begin at noon, but those wanting to participate in the march will want to get there early. The expected size of the march prompted officials to push back the National Cherry Blossom Festival one day after it was also scheduled to take place that Saturday.
There will also be many "sibling marches" throughout the country. You can learn more about marches outside of the District here.
What if I need to drive in downtown DC during the march ?
There will be numerous street closures and parking restrictions near where the march will be held. For a complete breakdown of closures, click here.
How do you get to the march ?
If you plan on attending the March For Our Lives demonstration on Saturday, you're encouraged to use public transportation, a ride-sharing service or carpool.
If you're planning to take the Metro, the closest stations to the march will be Metro Center (Red/Blue/Silver/Orange lines), Gallery Place-Chinatown (Red/Yellow/Green lines), Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Yellow/Green lines) and Judiciary Square (Red Line).
Officials said they expect those stations to be extremely crowded and delays could be possible, so they recommend riding to these stations and perhaps walking from there: Union Station (Red Line), Smithsonian National Mall (Blue/Silver/Orange lines), L'Enfant Plaza (Yellow/Green/Blue/Silver/Orange lines) or Federal Center Southwest (Blue/Silver/Orange lines).
The Federal Triangle Metro Station will be closed during the march. In addition, the 441 entrance to Judiciary Square Metro Station will also be closed.
Metro said it would be running rush-hour service levels throughout the day to accommodate the large crowds. Service will begin at 7 a.m. and officials urged riders to try to arrive at their station as early as possible.
Officials said trains will depart end-of-line stations every eight minutes and additional Red Line trains will run between Grosvenor and Silver Spring stations. In Downtown DC, trains will arrive every two to four minutes.
Metro also urged riders to have their SmarTrip card ready to use and noted that bicycles, large coolers or other oversized items would not be permitted on Metro on Saturday.
If you'd rather take a ride-sharing service, Lyft announced it would be offering FREE RIDES to people wishing to attend the rally. The company urged users wanting to receive a free ride to the demonstration to RSVP for the event here.
Lyft said free ride codes would be distributed on Friday to those who have RSVP'd. If you weren't able to RSVP for the event, ride codes to the marches will be available here beginning Saturday morning.
Once users receive the code, they'll want to enter it into the "promos" tab of their Lyft app. The company said riders must set the official March for Our Lives rally point as their destination. Users will find the rally point details in their app once they've entered the code in their promo tab.
Lyft said any riders under the age of 18 have to be accompanied by an adult. The company also noted it would support up to $1.5 million in free rides, so once the commitment is met they will no longer provide the promotion.
What will the weather be like during the march ?
Saturday is forecasted to be chilly in the morning with temperatures kicking off the day in the upper 20s. As the march gets underway at about noon, temperatures are expected to be in the low-to-mid 40s with a mix of sunshine and clouds. Wind gusts up to 10 mph are possible and there is no rain or precipitation in the forecast. You can get the full forecast for the March For Our Lives here.
Will there be food to eat at the march ?
Several restaurants have banded together to offer FREE FOOD for students under the age of 18 participating in the March For Our Lives. The group, called Food For Our Lives, will provide free or discounted food as long as students have a valid ID and as long as supplies last. The group will have distribution points set up at the following locations on Saturday where students can receive free meals.
The following restaurants will offer 50 percent off discounts to students under 18 with valid ID between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.: Beefsteak, Sugar Shack Donuts, Shake Shack, Sweetgreen, Cava, Rasa and Taco Bamba. You can find more details about participating locations and more here.
The group will also hold a poster making event on Friday from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Shake Shack located at 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE at Union Station. Participants of all ages will receive a free ShackBurger.
Where are people from out of town staying ?
Montgomery County students have helped set-up a home-sharing network for out-of-towners seeking to attend the march in DC with the help of DC Local Ambassadors. You can learn more about the home-sharing network here and more about the DC Local Ambassadors here.
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