March For Our Lives doesn’t spotlight minority struggle

By Isaiah Reynolds, Columnists

I was very much in support of a movement to tighten gun laws around the country in hopes of saving thousands of lives everywhere. After seeing House bills being passed in the Illinois General Assembly while being simultaneously vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, it’s evident the legislative process may provide many roadblocks in implementing more gun control. In the meantime, the social movement #MarchForOurLives has gained momentum.

The march, a gathering of about 1.2 million people nationwide, had its largest numbers in Washington, D.C. It featured many activists, artists and students affected by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.

As I learned more about the movement through tweets and news articles, I was initially happy.  But at the same time, I was surprised by how quickly the movement gained support. The topic of gun control saw approval from both parties as well as from devout gun owners and veterans.

It wasn’t until 11-year-old student activist Naomi Wadler took the stage that I realized why I was surprised.

“I am here to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper,” Wadler said. “Whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”

National support and universal alignment is something foreign to the #BlackLivesMatter movement or any other black civil rights struggle.

It is easy for someone to jump on the gun control debate while still remaining, for the most part, politically neutral. But the same cannot be said for supporting civil rights because people subscribe to the notion that being pro-black is a polarizing concept.

Gun control is obviously a universal issue, but failing to address the disparities of violence in different communities and the disproportionate coverage from the media is an injustice.

A lot of what this reveals is mainstream America is a lot more willing to listen when the cries for help and demand for change come from non-black mouths. Between demanding safer neighborhoods and calling for accountability within corrupt police departments, there have been countless marches and town hall meetings addressing these issues without nearly as much coverage from the media.

Whether it was intended or not, many movements piggybacked off the #MarchForOurLives momentum. There’s a gradual realization of the intersection of issues happening in America, and to maximize on these sentiments, activists have to quickly make their points while the spotlight is still on them.

We can only hope that one day, there will be as much outcry and support to protect the black children facing violence every day.

Isaiah is a sophomore in Media.

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