Some African-American students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida say their voices have been ignored by the media and others in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting.
“I would say that our voices were not intentionally excluded, but they were not intentionally included,” said Kai Koerber, a junior. “Now more than ever, it is time to represent the diversity of our school, and the diversity in the world.”
“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,” student Tyah-Amoy Roberts told reporters this week, according to CNN affiliate WPEC-TV.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former Stoneman Douglas student, roamed the hallways of the 1200 building on campus February 14 for several minutes, targeting victims huddled in classrooms on the first and second floors, killing 17 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.
A mostly white group of Stoneman Douglas survivors started a movement after the shooting to honor the victims and rally Americans to stop gun violence. Last weekend, they took their fight for stricter gun control laws to Washington and other cities in what they called a March for Our Lives.
About 11% of the high school’s 3,000 students are black, and some say their concerns about gun violence are not getting enough attention, WPEC reported.
“We are proud to say that we’re from Douglas,” student Mei-Ling Ho-Shing told reporters Wednesday, WPEC-TV reported.
“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.”
Before Saturday’s March for Our Lives, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg said the media had made a big mistake “not giving black students a voice” after the shooting rampage.
At the weekend march, before hundreds of thousands, Hogg and others made a point of speaking about gun violence victims in other communities.
Koerber told CNN the increased police presence has created new stress on campus.
“The police are making their own rules and are turning our school into a police state,” he said. “Every day, students lose more and more freedoms at MSD. Students of color have become targets and white students have become suspects. …”
“Students of color, black and brown students, like myself have been racially profiled while we are on heightened alert, fearing the emergence of another Caucasian shooter,” Koerber said.
“I would like to see us not only reclaim our school, but our right to privacy on campus. We do not welcome the militarization of MSD. It is terrible to see our school lose control over the protection of their students and their facilities.”