Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama sent a heartfelt, handwritten letter to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, commending their efforts to champion gun control after a lone gunman killed 17 people in February.
The note said the Parkland, Florida, teenagers had “helped awaken the conscience of the nation, and challenged decision-makers to make the safety of our children the country’s top priority.”
Since the shooting, furious teenagers, parents and gun reform supporters have emerged as a massive political force ― speaking out on TV, over social media, and to lawmakers about the need for gun control.
In the letter, dated March 10 and obtained by Mic on Wednesday, the Obamas thanked the survivors of the shooting for speaking out against gun violence and for acting as catalysts for change.
The full letter reads:
10 March 2018
To the students of Parkland —
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. 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.
Barack Obama Michelle Obama
Representatives for the Obamas did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for further comment.
Previously, the couple talked about the mass shooting on Twitter. Barack Obama mentioned his grief over the massacre and implored followers that “we are not powerless” and “we have to change.”
Michelle Obama praised the students and remarked that she was in “total awe” of their actions.
Many Stoneman Douglas students and other advocates around the country are slated to rally for an end to gun violence in the March for Our Lives on Saturday. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the march in Washington, D.C., with more joining local events across the country.
You can RSVP to the march in D.C. or one in your own community here.