March For Our Lives activists, others honored at Smithsonian awards

Dec. 6 (UPI) — Smithsonian Institution honored several Americans Wednesday night with its American Ingenuity Awards.

The institution’s magazine honored leaders in the fields of life science, performing arts, technology, social progress, visual arts, youth and history.

The Youth Award went to the founders of March for Our Lives, a group started by survivors of the shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida this year. The group lobbies for common sense gun control and uses the online social tag, #Neveragain.

The group, which received a standing ovation from the crowd Wednesday night, has so far marched in Tallahassee, Fla., and Washington, D.C., to call for change. Observers estimated that the D.C. march was the largest since the Vietnam War.

Comedian Cheech Marin presented the History award to actor John Leguizamo, who created a one-man show, Latin History for Morons, which won Best Play this year and will soon be on Netflix.

The Visual Arts award went to filmmaker John Krasinski, who co-wrote, directed and took the male lead in the film A Quiet Place. Krasinski explained he’d just had his second daughter when someone pitched the film, which depicts humans trying to survive on an Earth that’s been overrun by a noise targeting alien.

Perhaps the highlight of the night happened when singer Janelle Monae accepted her Performing Arts Award for her album Dirty Computer and was surprised by legendary musician Stevie Wonder. Nobody in the crowd knew he’d be a presenter. He called Monae one of the most revolutionary recording artists today.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear the way that she takes through her music sounds that she grew up with and weaves them into something fresh,” Wonder said.

The awards were given on the same day former President George H.W. Bush was memorialized in Washington, D.C. Marin recalled once having dinner with the 41st president and first lady Barbara Bush.

“He was the most remarkable, wonderful host throughout the evening, and Mrs. Bush as well,” he said. “And I was flabbergasted at what a compassionate, and generous, and loving man he was just in the space of that one evening.”

March for Our Lives demands action on guns

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez took the stage at the Washington, D.C., march for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the length of time the shooting went on at the school on February 14. She also read the names of those who died. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

The view from above as demonstrators move down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Students, parents and teachers marched on the Capitol in support of gun restrictions and school safety. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Paul McCartney and Billie Jean King join the demonstration in New York City. McCartney said, “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here. So, it’s important to me.” He was referring to Beatles bandmate John Lennon. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Marchers dressed in white in New York hold up photos of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Demonstrators in New York carry American flags. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Crowds jammed the area around the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

A tear falls from a protester’s eye while listening to speakers in New York. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Young activists are pushing for changes to gun laws all over the United States, with support from parents, teachers and schools. Students have walked out of classrooms, held moments of silence and demaded action from lawmakers since the Parkland shooting. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Protests took place in dozens of cities across the United States — the biggest in Washington, D.C. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

A total of 843 related protests were planned for Saturday, at least one in every state and every continent except Antarctica Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Activists were calling for high-powered firearms like the AR-15 assault rifle used in the Parkland shooting to be outlawed. The student activists have also called for solutions such as bullet-proof glass in school windows and doors. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Demonstrators surround a police car during the march in Washington. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., participates in the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney helped fund the march. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Common and Andra Day perform “Rise Up” to open the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Demi Lovato performs “Skyscraper” during the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

About 20 speakers, most of them young, addressed a diverse crowd of supporters. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

The crowds at the D.C. march included survivors or family members from other school shootings. Photo by Mark Wallheiser /UPI | License Photo

The teens in the movement are targeting the powerful National Rifle Association. Photo by Mark Wallheiser /UPI | License Photo

Ariana Grande performs “Be Alright” during the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg addresses the D.C. rally. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Thousands of young people, traveling from all over the country, participated in the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Naomi Wadler, 11, of Alexandria, Va., addresses the D.C. march. She had led a walkout at her elementary school last month. “I’m here today to represent the African-American girls [killed by gun violence] who don’t always make the front pages of the newspapers,” she said. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Participants swallow up two police vans on a side street trying to make it to the D.C. march. Photo by Mark Wallheiser /UPI | License Photo

Participants crowd Constitution Avenue during the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Students from schools that experienced gun violence listen during the D.C. rally. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Thousands of people marched in solidarity in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Demonstrators crowded around City Hall in LA. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

At the downtown Los Angeles rally, Mayor Eric Garcetti called it a historic day led by the nation’s future leaders. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Many teenagers at the rallies said they are looking forward to voting as soon as they turn 18. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Miley Cyrus performs “The Climb” during the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis /UPI | License Photo

Demonstrators line Constitution Avenue in D.C. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Thousands marched in LA. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Marchers move past Trump International Hotel and Tower at the New York demonstration. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Supporters of the march gather along Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Protesters demand action on access to guns at the D.C. march. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

A young participant at the march at San Francisco City Hall. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Supporters hang signs along the fence surrounding the Andrew Jackson Statue in Layfayette Square outside the White House. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Protest signs line the fence. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Families join the San Francisco protest. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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