By Natasha Bach
March 14, 2018

Media giant Viacom is taking a stand on gun violence and is supporting students who are doing the same.

The conglomerate is planning a number of efforts over the coming weeks to raise awareness and amplify the voices of the student activists.

On Wednesday, Viacom’s networks, including MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central, will show solidarity with the school walkout by suspending regular programming for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. local time. Students will also take over MTV’s social media accounts during the walkout.

Students already staged a protest against gun violence in schools at the U.S. Capitol in February.
Alex Wong—Getty Images

Viacom’s brands will also leverage their reach to raise awareness of the March For Our Lives event planned for March 24, providing on-air and digital coverage. MTV and Comedy Central will change their logos to orange in the ten days leading up to the event in support of gun violence awareness. The vice chair of Viacom’s Board, Shari Redstone, is personally donating $500,000 to the movement behind the march.

The March 14 school walkout looks to build on the earlier momentum of student actions.
Alex Wong—Getty Images

Viacom is also planning longer-term efforts with a series of initiatives aimed at curbing gun violence beyond the March protests. BET, for example, is offering grants for youth activists who have “innovative ideas about addressing gun violence and mental health issues,” while CMT plans to work with the country music industry to fight for gun safety. Viacom will also expand the efforts of Get Schooled, an initiative started with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to further educate young people on how to get involved in the national political discussion.


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