Parkland students arrive in Washington ahead of March for Our Lives

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

(CNN) -- Students who survived last month's deadly school shooting in South Florida are in the nation's capital Friday, ready for face-to-face meetings with lawmakers a day ahead of a massive teen-led march for gun control.

The February 14 massacre claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, spurring the survivors at the school into activism. They quickly became the faces of a national conversation on gun control, and now they are lobbying lawmakers for more restrictive gun laws.

Small groups of students will meet Friday morning with members of Congress, while others will head to the Newseum to discuss their experiences in the Valentine's Day shooting.

Later, some will attend a vigil at the National Cathedral and a concert headlined by the rock band Fall Out Boy.

"This is a time for action. We need to support the Parkland teens, and kids across the country," Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz said in a statement. "We have their backs, and we must demand our lawmakers do more to end this gun violence crisis."

These events are a prelude to Saturday's March for Our Lives in Washington, a demonstration for stricter gun control expected to draw tens of thousands of students, teachers, parents and supporters from all over the country.

The march -- organized by the Stoneman Douglas student group #NeverAgain and the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety -- is the culmination of a monthlong effort to honor the victims of the shooting, and to push for an end to gun violence.

"This trip is showing the politicians the true meaning of democracy," Stoneman Douglas student Demitri Hoth told CNN at an airport Thursday as he and other students traveled from Florida to Washington. "They are not there to serve groups; they are there to serve people. It's time for us to take control and be heard."

A series of sister events begins Friday around the world. Americans in Israel will rally in front of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, along with at least one Parkland student.

"American citizens and students in Israel, Pantsuit Nation Israel, Democrats Abroad-Israel and survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are standing together to stop the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States by advocating for stronger gun control laws," said rally organizer Marni Mandell.

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