Being a liberal activist apparently pays some pretty big dividends.
Justin Blackman, the 16-year old who made headlines for being the only one of his school’s 700 students to walk out of class during Wednesday’s nation-wide gun control demonstration, started a GoFundMe and collected thousands of dollars just hours after publishing his viral video.
— Justin 🏵 (@JustinIBlackman) March 14, 2018
Blackman, a student at Wilson Preparatory Academy in Wilson, N.C., tweeted a video of himself alone outside the school during Walkout Day, in which students around the country left their classrooms for 17 minutes–one minute for each victim of last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
“Umm… hello Twitter, there’s going to be like six people watching this hopefully,” Blackman began. “It’s National Walkout Day, I’m the only one from my school out here.”
The teenager said his teacher let him leave Spanish class without issue. “Just gonna be chillin’ here for the next 15 minutes,” he added.
The video received widespread attention and Blackman was praised by celebrities supportive of gun control.
You’re not alone Justin.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 14, 2018
I’m right next to you. https://t.co/kxU8GhLfGG
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 14, 2018
We're watching, Justin! 👏👏👏👏 https://t.co/wXRYfNBofW
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) March 14, 2018
The student later told CNN: “Now, I truly know that one person is all it takes. No matter the age, skin color, gender—it doesn’t matter.”
“Justin is very opinionated,” his mother said. “He’s not a follower. Strong minded.”
The school would not comment on the walkout, but said of the young protester:
“We teach our students to be independent thinkers. [Blackman] is an independent thinker.”
On Wednesday night, Blackman tweeted a link to a GoFundMe he created for the purpose of raising money for college.
https://t.co/NAHSqCTutx I would like to go to college…..
— Justin 🏵 (@JustinIBlackman) March 15, 2018
The GoFundMe page read:
“I’m that guy that spoke for 28 seconds and I would like to go to College for Acting or the Video game industry. $1 helps.”
Blackman also tweeted that he wants to appear on “Ellen.”
Is it possible for me to get a dm from @TheEllenShow that would be cool
— Justin 🏵 (@JustinIBlackman) March 14, 2018
And why wouldn’t Blackman take a shot at being a guest on the Ellen show? Several outspoken, anti-gun Parkland students quickly rose to fame by hitting the media circuit after the horrific massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School.
The Parkland shooting survivors talk about gun control on The Ellen DeGeneres Show! Head over to HerCampus FIU to read all about it! Link in bio. •
•#HerCampus #FIU #FIU21 #blogger #fiupride #fiustudent #fiupanther #Miami #HerCampusFIU #student #collegiate #college #style pic.twitter.com/V9DJIXBUcx
— Her Campus FIU (@HerCampusFIU) March 6, 2018
As of Thursday morning, Blackman’s GoFundMe had received $4,984 of his $20,000 goal.
The fundraiser did not sit well with many Twitter users, including some who were supportive of Blackman’s Walkout Day stand.
I think your taking a stand like that was great, Justin. But I don’t like your sudden rush to try to cash in on your 15 minutes of fame. To me, it cheapens your original stand. You don’t deserve a handout any more or less than the thousands of other kids who took a stand.
— Fansini (@TheTropaion) March 15, 2018
Justin it is more than cool you participated in the honoring of the #Parkland victims but starting a go fund me page is not it seems like you did the protest to gain on a tragedy l hope you rethink that no one should use their deaths this way
— 1Luv #GunSenseLegislationNow (@spiritmoon7) March 15, 2018
Then I suggest you work hard and earn scholarships instead of sitting with your hand out on Twitter.
— Glutton4Pnshmnt (@Glutton4Pnshmnt) March 15, 2018
There are so many grants, scholarships, & work study programs for serious, ambitious students. Find a mentor and internships. Work hard. Don’t ask people to pay your way until you’ve proven yourself.
— Hanna Bec ◟̽◞̽ (@HannaBec) March 15, 2018
So do hundreds of thousands of others. What makes you different?
— Samuel ?? ?? (@SamuelLewis00) March 15, 2018
No Justin u don’t want to go to college all u want to do is go out & protest march. A kid that really wants to go to college stays n class, obeys he’s teachers & gets good grades. Did I mention get a job instead of ask’g for a handout & somebody else to pay for it.
— John H Watson (@Jonhw46) March 15, 2018