The teens from Parkland who’ve volunteered to speak with reporters and in front of cameras have eloquently and pointedly stated why they believe gun control laws are needed. They’ve repeatedly taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) directly.
… Young black people have been fighting to save lives through gun reform laws for years without the support and energy given to the Stoneman Douglas students. In fact, black youth, who’ve been passionately advocating for gun control measures, have been demonized, obfuscated, and overlooked.
…These organizations, largely centered around anti-violence, have been led mostly by young black women and black teens — and not only in recent years. Through different groups, across different cities, they have been organizing anti-violence rallies, have been meeting with presidential candidates, proposing policy ideas, participating in national debates, and organizing intensely to advocate for more equitable state and federal gun laws that impact black and brown people. They put forward policy strategies to curb violence, looking for reform and accountability in policing, especially concerning the lethal use of force by guns.
Black Lives Matter, perhaps the most well-known and visible of these organizations, was conceived in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who lived and died in central Florida, about three hours away from Parkland. After Martin was shot, the Dream Defenders, a student-lead group fought tirelessly with a straight-forward and well-articulated goal, demanding that lawmakers repeal the state’s “stand your ground” law. They even organized a weeks-long sit-in at the Florida Capitol.
…anti-violence black activist groups were formed, including the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, and the Wear Orange campaign, which was started by black teens in Chicago, who were close friends with Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old, who was shot and killed on January 29, 2013, shortly after performing in President Barack Obama’s inauguration parade.
(not your Mam’s Teen Vogue!)