For years, Demi Lovato has used her platform to discuss mental health issues. So it’s not surprising that she felt concerned about the mental health of the students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On February 14 – a day dedicated to friendship and love – Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and teachers and injured many more with an AR-15 semi-automatic style weapon. During the kickoff of her Tell Me You Love Me world tour, Demi invited six students to share their stories with the crowd, according to Billboard.
“On February 14, one of the worst mass shootings in American history took place,” she said during the concert. “These students were in the school that day. Please welcome them to the stage.” She then allowed Julius Castillo, Mackenzie Marie Chapman, Samanatha Megan Deitsch, Maia Hebron, Eden Hebron, and Sarah Stricker to address the crowd. In a later statement, Lovato said that she hoped the students received the “mental health and post-trauma care they need.”
In the two weeks since the shooting, a group of students, who started March for Our Lives, have become the new face of the gun control movement. Celebrities like Oprah, George and Amal Clooney, and Steve Spielberg have each donated $500,000 to March for Our Lives. And while many applaud the efforts of these young activists, others have criticized celebrities and others for backing these students – who are mostly white – but not supporting other groups who have advocated for gun control in the past, including Black Lives Matter.
At least one student, Lex Michaels, has spoken out about the lack of support groups made up of people of color have received. “Much of what I’ve done and wanted to do was inspired by Black Lives Matter,” she wrote. “We’re protesting the exact same way and being called heroes just because the majority of us are white. America needs to do better in so many ways.”