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Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, including many right here in Canada, came together on Saturday to protest in favour of stricter gun control laws in the United States. Dozens of cities, from Toronto to Berlin, organized small “sibling marches.” But the main event—the March for Our Lives rally—took place in Washington, D.C.
Several celebrities travelled to Washington to support the March for Our Lives rally as well as its organizers, the students of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And when the Douglas students (including Emma González, who successfully urged thousands of rally-goers to stand in silence for several minutes) weren’t delivering incredibly affecting speeches, some of those celebrities even took the March for Our Lives stage to perform for fellow protesters.
Ariana Grande, who grew up in Florida herself and organized last year’s One Love Manchester benefit concert, performed “Be Alright,” an upbeat Dangerous Woman track about overcoming difficult experiences. “This is for those brilliant students here today that are leading this march and for everybody participating today,” Grande declared on stage. “Thank you so much for fighting for change and for love and safety and for our future.”
Miley Cyrus, Grande’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” duet partner, delivered a rendition of “The Climb,” her 2009 Hannah Montana: The Movie hit and an inspirational ballad that has the power to make us weep to this day. Cyrus performed the song while carrying a back and white “Never Again” sign and wearing an #MSDStrong sweater.
Demi Lovato also performed a rousing power ballad of her own, 2011’s “Skyscraper.” And Cyrus tweeted out a picture of herself and Lovato at the rally with the caption “Been friends forever & happy to stand with you on important days like this!,” proving that former Disney Channel stars who protest together stay together.
Common and Andra Day (who sang their Grammy and Oscar-nominated track “Stand Up For Something”), Jennifer Hudson (who sang Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” with the D.C. Choir), Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt (who sang their new Hamilton/Dear Evan Hansen mashup “Found Tonight”) and rapper-producer Vic Mensa also performed at the March for Our Lives rally. Numerous other celebs, including Amy Schumer, George and Amal Clooney, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and even Paul McCartney (who in an interview spoke about losing his Beatles bandmate John Lennon to gun violence almost 40 years ago) were in D.C. to cheer them on.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are clearly making change and breaking ground. Their goal—to encourage politicians to enforce stricter gun laws and therefore save the lives of children, teenagers, and adults alike—is clear. And with dozens of empowered and determined musicians, actors, and activists on their side, we’re hopeful that the tone of next year’s March for Our Lives rally will be more celebratory than mournful.