Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama expressed their support for the survivors-turned-activists hailing from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
The letter, obtained by Mic, expresses admiration and gratitude for the students who turned tragedy into activism.
The students, the Obamas say, have “helped awaken the conscience of the nation.” The couple also tells the students to keep pushing forward even when they are knocked down.
“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 letter says.
The letter, dated March 10, sharply contrasts the treatment some survivors have received from other players in politics, including Leslie Gibson, a Republican from Maine who called one student a “skinhead lesbian.”
Gibson had no competitors in the race for Maine’s House of Representatives before he wrote now-deleted tweets in which he called Parkland’s Emma González a “skinhead lesbian” and David Hogg a “baldfaced liar” and “moron.” Following backlash from his hateful comments, Gibson dropped out of the race.
Benjamin Kelly, former aide to state Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa), falsely claimed that González and Hogg were strategically placed actors. and that the shooting did not take place at all. The Tampa Bay Times reported that after González and Hogg appeared on CNN, Kelly sent an email to the newspaper saying: “Both kids in the picture are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”
Jack Kingston, a Republican former U.S. representative of Georgia, slammed the survivors-turned-activists, who he said on CNN are essentially puppets for “left-wing groups who have an agenda.”
David Clarke, former sheriff of Milwaukee County who on Twitter calls himself an “NRA Benevolent Member,” insinuated on Twitter that the Parkland students are being paid off:
“The well ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it. It is similar to how he hijacked and exploited black people’s emotion regarding police use of force incidents into the COP HATING Black Lives Matter movement.”