Black MSD Students Feel Underrepresented In The Gun Control Movement

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“We surely do not feel the lives or voices of minorities are valued as much as those of our white counterpart,” said a Parkland school survivor.

 

 

Young student activists have received nationwide recognition for their efforts for the gun control movement that emerged in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

However, not all students feel their voices are being heard in regard to gun violence. Not so surprisingly, these students happen to be African Americans, who make about 11 percent of the high school's 3,000 students.

A number of black students gathered in Parkland this week and voiced their concerns regarding lack of representation by media and peers heading the gun control movement. They feel their contribution to the ongoing contentious issue of gun control is not getting enough attention.

Kai Koerber, a 17-year-old African-American Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, raised concerns that the measures police may take to ensure their safety have higher chances of distressing them instead of making them feel more secured. He pointed out how students of color will be viewed as potential suspects and police will racially profile them.

Considering the recent cases of police brutality targeting the minority communities, Koerber isn’t wrong to worry about the increased number of cops in schools.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there has been a long-standing discussion about placing police in schools. Koerber’s comments are exactly why black students’ voices needed to be included in the conversation. As Broward County school board member Rosalind Osgood said, without this conversation, she would have never thought of that consequence of heightened police staffing.

“I don’t want the minority kids to be angry and feel that they’re being ignored. I don’t think anybody’s intentionally excluding them, but nobody’s intentionally including them either,” said Osgood.

Tifanny Burks, a community organizer with Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, which helped gather the students, also feels by taking black students’ input, discussions on two crucial subjects can be opened: mass shootings and police-involved shootings. 

“They were shook. It felt like there was a thousand police there. Having all those police there made their school feel like a prison,” said Burks, highlighting the plight of black students when they returned to the school after shooting.

Moreover, Burks said she hopes this jumpstarts a conversation about more inclusive solutions.

“Is the solution to less gun violence more guns, just with police officers’ names on them?” she added. “We have to have that conversation.”

Students from minority groups are coming forward to stress upon the fact the tragedy, which left 17 dead and several injured, didn’t just traumatize white students — they are equally disturbed and deserve same level of protection.

"The Black Lives Matter movement has been addressing (gun violence) since the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, yet we have never seen this kind of support for our cause and we surely do not feel the lives or voices of minorities are valued as much as those of our white counterpart," said student Tyah-Amoy Roberts.

Another student went on to clarify they aren’t trying to undermine the efforts of white students but at the same time they want their opinions to get acknowledged too.

"We are proud to say that those who are in the front are doing a great job, but we also have so much to say,” said student Mei-Ling Ho-Shing.

David Hogg, one of the most prominent gun control activists, said the media had made a big mistake "not giving black students a voice" after the shooting rampage.

It is sad that even at a time when survivors of school shooting need all the support they can get, some of them have to fight for attention and at the same time, fear that corrective measures may just make things worse for them.

Banner/Thumbnail: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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