Parkland Students Check Their White Privilege By Acknowledging Black Activists Battling Gun Violence
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School know they aren’t the only victims of gun violence. During the March For Our Lives rally, the young activists shared their platform with activists of color who’ve spent years pressing the issue.
On Saturday (Mar. 24), student and rally organizers David Hogg and Jaclyn Corin called out their white privilege. They also addressed the mass coverage the Parkland shooting received in comparison to the recent school shooting death of Courtlin Arrington and gun violence in Chicago. “We recognize that Parkland received more attention because of its affluence,” Corin said during her speech. “But we share this stage today and forever with those communities who have always stared down the barrel of a gun.”
Before the rally, Hogg also stated African-American students were not given a voice after the shooting gained mainstream media attention. “My school is about 25 percent black, but the way we’re covered doesn’t reflect that.” he said.
Other speakers who joined the #NeverAgain Movement included 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, Edna Chavez and Yolanda King. Wadler, who organized at walk-out at George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., spoke out about African-American women and girls who have died to gun violence. “I am here to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Wadler said. “I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”
Chavez of Los Angeles shared the loss of her brother who was killed in South Central. “I’ve learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read,” she said. King, who is the granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, led a chant related to a gun free world.
“Spread the word! Have you heard? All across the nation, we are going to be a great generation,” she said with thousands.
In their interview with TIME, the teens shared some of the biggest allies like Dream Defenders, a racial injustice organization led by Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, Pastor Michael McBride and prolific author and activist Dr. Angela Davis.
“We came from an affluent area, and we’re mostly white, and we have to use that privilege,” said organizer Delaney Tarr. They’ve also worked with anti-violence groups in Chicago to make their message more inclusive. “We’re fighting for the same thing,” Chicago student Arieyanna Williams of Peace Warriors said. “We found our voice in Parkland. We didn’t really have it here.”