Ahead of the March for our Lives rally, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg said the media’s biggest mistake while covering the school’s shooting was “not giving black students a voice.”
“My school is about 25 percent black, but the way we’re covered doesn’t reflect that.” Hogg said during an Axios event Friday.
Hogg, one of the core members of the #NeverAgain Movement, hasn’t shied away from acknowledging his privilege. In fact, “privilege” came up in many of the speeches at Saturday’s march in Washington, D.C.
While taking the stage again – this time before hundreds of thousands – Hogg and other students made sure to include victims of gun violence from across other communities.
‘We share this stage’
“We recognize that Parkland received more attention because of its affluence,” Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, 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.”
Corin brought Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, to the stage as her special surprise guest.
‘It’s not about race’
Alex Wind, another Parkland shooting survivor, addressed how gun violence affects everyone in the US.
“It’s not about race. It is not about your sex. It is not about ethnicity. It is not about gender. It is not about how much money you make,” he said during his speech. “What it comes down to is life or death.”
Aalayah Eastmond, another Parkland shooting survivor, spoke about how gun violence isn’t something new, and must not be overlooked in urban communities.
“Yes I am a Parkland survivor and an MSD student,” she said. “But before this i was a regular black girl and after this I am still black and I am still regular, and I will fight for all of us.”
‘I represent African-American women’
Non-Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students also used their speeches to echo this point.
Naomi Wadler, an elementary student from Virginia, said she was speaking on behalf of all of the “African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper.”
“I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence,” she said. “Who are simply statistics instead of vibrant beautiful girls full of potential.”
The 11-year-old continued: “I’m here to acknowledge their stories. To say they matter. To say their names. Because I can. And I was asked to be. For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have been just numbers. I’m here to say never again for those girls too.”
Many on Twitter noticed – and praised – the Parkland students for sharing their moment in the spotlight with people of color.
“Parkland students using their privilege to make space and pass the mic to black and brown students who have been fighting this fight with no media attention and a country that didn’t listen is why this movement isn’t just a moment. #MarchForOurLives,” one Twitter user wrote.
Added another Twitter user: “So glad to see all these black and brown kids given an opportunity to speak up too! Much respect to the Parkland students for using their privilege to give others space to speak and get some spotlight. #Hope #BlackLivesMatter #MarchForOurLives #VoteThemOut2018.”