On Saturday, tens of thousands of young people from across the city and suburbs are expected to converge on Union Park for Chicago’s March for Our Lives demonstration, one of many being staged around the country.
And many of those young people will get free transportation to that Near West Side event through a monumental move by Lyft to provide $1.5 million in rides to marches in 50 cities.
In line with a wave of nationwide support for the #NeverAgain movement spawned by survivors of the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green joined companies making corporate statements through their actions to help the youth.
In Washington, D.C. on Friday, for instance, a contingency from Chicago’s After School Matters program joined an influx of hundreds of youth from across the country at Shake Shack at D.C.’s Union Station, which provided free poster-making supplies — and burgers.
“We believe there is something seriously wrong when the threat of gun violence is so frequent and real throughout our country. And like many, we are inspired by your leadership,” the Lyft co-founders wrote in a letter to the student organizers of 838 events happening globally Saturday; the main one is in Washington, D.C.
“Your bravery and intelligence have provided a renewed and much needed hope. Thank you for speaking up and showing the world that young people can drive meaningful change. We are incredibly grateful for the example you are setting,” Zimmer and Green wrote.
Those attending any of the marches must RSVP. Those who did not RSVP by Saturday can find ride codes to the official march locations beginning Saturday morning, until the free rides reach $1.5 million.
“We are promoting it. You only get it if you register, and that has helped us encourage people to register so that we have a clearer idea of our numbers for tomorrow,” said Isabella Paredes, 17, among some 25 Chicago march organizers who withstood the chill on Friday as they hunkered under a tent at Union Park, making preparations.
About 30,000 people have expressed interest in attending the Chicago march, and of those, 15,000 have RSVP’d.