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Barack and Michelle Obama in letter to Parkland survivors: ‘You’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation’

Although President Obama was an outspoken advocate for gun control laws, the letter did not offer policy proscriptions.
A letter written to the survivors of the Parkland school shooting by Michelle and Barack Obama. Credit: Mic via Twitter. [Screengrab]
A letter written to the survivors of the Parkland school shooting by Michelle and Barack Obama. Credit: Mic via Twitter. [Screengrab]
Published Mar. 21, 2018|Updated Mar. 21, 2018

The former president and first lady have offered their support to the survivors of the Parkland school shooting.

In a one page letter dated March 10 and addressed to "the students of Parkland," Barack and Michelle Obama commended high school students for speaking out in the wake of the Feb. 14 massacre.

"We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," they wrote. (The letter was first published by Mic.)

Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students burst onto the national political scene after the shooting, demanding policy changes from state and federal lawmakers. Some have advocated for restrictions on firearm purchases, and others have focused on policies that would strengthen school safety and mental health programs.

Although President Obama is an outspoken gun control advocate, the letter did not endorse one student approach over the other.

"Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you've helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country's top priority," the Obamas wrote.

The students have proven to be effective advocates for change. Sen. Marco Rubio announced Wednesday that the STOP School Violence Act, which conservative 16-year-old Douglas student Kyle Kashuv has spent weeks championing in Washington, will be included in the federal spending bill moving its way through Congress.

And student gun control advocates Jaclyn Corin, Emma González, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky — among others — have raised millions of dollars for the March 24 March for our Lives to protest gun violence. Millions are expected to attend marches all over the country.

Read more: Florida lawmaker's aide fired after saying outspoken Parkland students are actors

Read more: Students staged walk outs all over Florida in response to Parkland shootings. Here's what it looked like.

Read the full text of the Obamas' letter here:

"We wanted to let you know how inspired we have been by the resilience, resolve and solidarity that you have all shown in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.

Not only have you supported and comforted each other, but you've helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country's top priority," the Obamas wrote.

Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better. There may be setbacks; you may feel like progress is too slow in coming. But we have no doubt you are going to make an enormous difference in the days and years to come, and we will be there for you."

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