First, the big speeches. Huge amounts of heart and intellect were on that stage in DC yesterday. I recommend watching the speeches of Emma Gonzalez and Naomi Wadler. Noting here that Emma was not silent for 6 whole minutes – the media made that up. She’s fact checking them all today.
Naomi Wadler, 11 years old, lead a walk out at her school after Parkland and repped the African American girls whose lives were lost to gun violence. She said, “I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington. I am here today to represent Hadiya Pendleton. I am here today to represent Taiyania Thompson, who at just 16 years old, was shot dead at her home here in Washington, DC. I am here today 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.”
As soon as the Parkland students started organizing and got immense support from celebrities and funders, the disparity in support and attention was obvious. Connecting vigilante violence and police violence to mass shootings has been critically important, and Black organizers showed up big yesterday.
We can’t reflect on the March For Our Lives without acknowledging that police killed Stephon Clark for no reason in Sacramento last week, in his grandparents’ backyard. The cops turned off the audio on their body cams, and said they thought his cell phone was a gun. The police chief says he doesn’t know why the police did that, but we all know how to say “cover up.”
It may be too soon, but when you’ve settled down from the excitement of the March, read these two pieces. We need to consider how “protecting kids from guns” opens the door to deep militarization of schools and criminalization of children themselves. After all, the Governor of Florida just had to reject a bill that would arm teachers, which I know will only end in dead kids of color. These two pieces of writing lay out the risks, and they are real.