Oprah Winfrey has nothing but praise for the Florida school shooting survivors who have channeled angst into activism, calling them “warriors of the light” and comparing them to civil rights pioneers.
Winfrey called the Parkland students’ protests for gun control “a proud moment.”
“It’s an evolving moment for our country. The same thing happened, as you know, back in the ’50s and ’60s for the civil rights movement,” Winfrey said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Young people said, ‘We will not tolerate what our ancestors have tolerated. We have had enough and we’re willing to fight for it and willing to march in the streets for it and, if necessary, die for it.”’
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Winfrey added, “I feel the echoes of the past in the spirit of what they’re trying to achieve through the March for Our Lives.”
The March of Our Lives is an event planned for Washington, D.C. on March 24 that calls on the U.S. government to respond to school shootings.
“These young people get to be literally warriors of the light,” Winfrey said. “That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to — through their voices, through the March For Our Lives — say ‘We will not let this happen again. We are going to do what we can to banish the darkness.”’
When asked if she would participate in the march, Winfrey said she hadn’t yet decided, but explained that it was important for the students to be the face of the march.
“I think it’s necessary that they be the leaders of this march,” she said. “You want to hear from them. This is their march.”
Last week, Winfrey matched a US$500,000 donation by George and Amal Clooney to the students’ planned marches, including one in Washington D.C. on March 24.
Gucci also donated US$500,000 to march and publicly announced, “We stand with March for Our Lives and the fearless students across the country who demand that their lives and safety become a priority. We have all been directly or indirectly impacted by these senseless tragedies.”
The Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead has sparked calls for walkouts, sit-ins and other actions on school campuses across the U.S.
Winfrey also reacted to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent tweeting, in which he called her “very insecure.”
“Nobody wants to be hate-tweeted, especially by the president,” Winfrey said. “So it’s not a comfortable thing, I think, for anybody on social media who’s had somebody say something about you that you didn’t feel was true. But I believe that you meet any kind of negativity in your life, that you meet it with light.”
—With files from the Associated Press