By Flora Carr
March 22, 2018

Barack and Michelle Obama have penned a letter to the teenage survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, ahead of the ‘March for Our Lives’ rally in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere on Saturday to protest gun laws.

The handwritten letter, dated March 10 and addressed “to the students of Parkland”, and which was first obtained by Mic, praises the students for their “resilience, resolve and solidarity” and for helping to “awaken the conscience of the nation.”

“To the students of Parkland,” the former President and first lady write, “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.

“Throughout our history, young people like you have led the way in making America better,” they add. “There may be setbacks; you may sometimes 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.”

The couple sign off “Barack Obama Michelle Obama”.

Thousands of people from across the U.S. are expected to join the students of the Parkland, Florida high school for the “March for Our Lives” ,which begins at 12 p.m. ET on March 24.

The rally for stricter gun laws was conceived of shortly after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed by a former student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle that he had legally purchased.

Write to Flora Carr at flora.carr@timeinc.com.

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