In the wake of a string of mass school shooters and bombings, Americans are fed up. We are tired of the violence, the constant worry, and the constant discussion of gun control with people who truly aren’t interested in hearing everyone’s concerns. Millennials and Generation Z are taking a stand on gun control; with protest, school walkouts, and voice their concerns at rallies and on social media, the world is listening and the new outlets are covering every aspect of this movement.
While we do need to call for peace, gun reform, and safer schools, there's something we need to discuss. These movements and marches seem familiar to ones held in recent years. There seems to be a sudden appreciation for actions black and brown people have been doing for years. Black and brown children have been trying to bring control and mental health to the forefront for years but no one seemed to care. Now after a few incidents, all of a sudden, ears are open.
I’m proud that my generation and those coming after me are marching against injustice and taking charge to make a change, but I can’t help to see the irony in this movement. For the past five years, Black Lives Matter has been protesting and confronting the justice system in America. They have used their voice to express the need for gun control and police reform. From Trayvon Martin to the recent case of Stephon Clark, Black Lives Matter have made an effort to not let one victim of police brutality go unnoticed and left unknown. They have marched the street, rallied in front of federal buildings, and protested in major streets.
Black Lives Matter has always stood for a much-needed cause, and while they are often celebrated, they are always deemed as people (of color) complaining. The media portrays them as violent, aggressive, and out of control. Many people (who frankly, don’t take the time to learn about Black Lives Matter or any cultural movement) see this as "reverse racism" or "not caring about other races"...or my favorite..."race-baiting". Many people still try to police the way Black Lives Matter activist and supporters protest. There's rarely any support from major celebrities, except those of color.
It's crazy to me how the same voices who are marching for "our lives", are the same ones who've told us to shut up and tried to justify the murders of black and brown men, women, children, and members of the LGBT community. These same voices and people who want us to "march for our lives" probably thought the officers and people who killed Trayvon, Mike, Sandra, Walter, Alton, Stephon, and many others had a good reason. What really blows my mind is when we protest, the SWAT team is brought up, but now it's "march for our lives", and the same police that would kill us, are linking arms with young people who won't experience the same world people of color experience every day. I say this because as a young black millennial who's constantly heard about innocent people in the media or in my personal life dying of gun violence, I want to know where were you all in the past six years? I can say, myself, and along with many other black Americans, were and still are hesitant about the #MarchForOurLives movement because, like countless times throughout history, issues within the black and brown communities are shamed and silenced until the privileged people are affected, then you all put some blonde hair on the activism behind it and call it "revolutionary". I don't see anything wrong with #MarchForOurLives, I think the message and call for action are much needed, but while we're having this discussion about gun control, please remember to keep your black and brown classmates in mind.
Activism without intersectionality is just privilege.