we must support #blm youth with the same energy we’re supporting #marchforourlive
By Erin White
March 26, 2018
We say “Black lives matter” because we know that when black school children are subjected to gun violence, kids from communities like Parkland don’t flood cities to come marching for us. The violence experienced by black people or in predominately black spaces is downplayed, justified, and ignored by the media and the white majority participants who became accidental activists when the issues of the day began to affect them.
And while there has been an observable difference in the way the Stoneman Douglas HS and March For Our Lives kids have tried to amplify intersectional voices compared to last year’s Women’s March, it’s fair that some young black activists simply don’t want to participate in events with people who never turn out for black lives issues.
One such student is Chanice Lee, a 15-year-old from a community 20 miles away from Parkland, who’s bravely telling her story and reasoning behind ditching the march at the last minute:
“As a 15-year-old Black Teenager, I felt so conflicted when I was trying to decide if I should attend the march or not. I thought to myself: If the shooting happened in my low-income, Black neighborhood, would the residents of predominantly White, wealthy neighborhoods show up for Black Teens? Would they give us millions of dollars and invite us to be on national TV? Would they drive 20 miles like I did to get to Parkland for the pre-March For Our Lives Meeting to show up to a Black Lives Matter meeting? Probably not, unfortunately.[…]
But, when I noticed the amount of global support they got for standing up for what they believe in, it felt like a slap in the face. Black youth in different cities all across America have been working extremely hard to eliminate gun violence and they were never supported in the ways that the Parkland students are supported. Black teens have been protesting against racism, police brutality, and unjust killings for years, but we were faced with racial slurs, negative media attention, and complete backlash.”
It’s a complicated issue, to be sure, but Lee’s argument for not attending is rational as hell. Read her full blog post about the march, here.
And heed the wisdom of another thoughtful young person, Tiffany Dena Loftin, who marched this weekend to insist the inclusion of black issues in this conversation.
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