Hundreds of students from a predominantly black school in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood took to the streets earlier this week to protest gun violence ― and national media barely covered it.
On Tuesday, teens from Miami Northwestern Senior High School marched from their school’s campus to a housing complex where four young people were shot on Sunday. Kimson Green, a 17-year-old sophomore at the school, and Rickey Dixon, an 18-year-old alumnus, were killed. Students chanted: “No justice. No peace. No violence in the streets,” the Miami Herald reported.
The shootings and subsequent protest in Liberty City ― an area where gun violence has been a recurring issue ― were just hours away from Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
National media outlets extensively covered the shooting in Parkland ― a predominantly white, more affluent area ― and have actively followed Parkland students’ activism and their March for Our Lives movement since then. Yet only a handful of outlets covered the Liberty City protest, including The Associated Press, Teen Vogue and Blavity (not HuffPost), even as local media covered it heavily.
“It’s a racial thing,” 16-year-old student Mi-Olda Faustin told the Miami Herald at Tuesday’s protest. “If you’re white, you get more publicity about these things.”
“Like Stoneman Douglas, if they can … let their voices be heard, why can’t we do the same and let our voices be heard?” another unidentified student participating in the protest told local NPR reporter Nadege Green. “Why can’t we do the same thing? It’s because we’re black? It’s because we’re in the ghetto ... because we’re poor ... and they’re richer? I don’t understand.”
Amid the public attention focused on March for Our Lives’ student leaders, who are largely white, some teens of color ― both at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and beyond ― have spoken out about how they are getting less recognition.
“We’re saying you don’t see much of us at the forefront,” 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas junior Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, who is black, told HuffPost last week. She and a group of other black students at the school held a news conference late last month to express that their voices weren’t being sufficiently heard by the media or their own peers.
Green ― who has long been covering gun violence in the area and is also an alumnus of Miami Northwestern ― tweeted that national attention to the Parkland students’ movement likely helped the Liberty City students’ march get even the level of media and political attention that it did. Local students have long been activating around the issue of gun violence, she said, but their previous marches got little to no recognition.
It’s worth noting that the student leaders of March for Our Lives have made a significant effort to make their movement inclusive and recognize other communities hurt by gun violence. As the Miami Northwestern march took place, several prominent Parkland student activists tweeted their support.