U.S. NEWS
03/19/2018 05:06 pm ET

Parkland Survivors Call Out Media For Ignoring Gun Violence In Black Communities

"We have to use our white privilege” to help elevate those most affected by gun violence, one student survivor said.

A group of students who survived last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed the media for not dedicating enough coverage to gun violence in black communities.

David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman shot and killed 17 people on Feb. 14, called that unequal coverage one of the “greatest obstacles” that #NeverAgain, a student-led anti-gun violence movement created since the massacre, is trying to overcome.

“There is a lot of racial disparity in the way that this [shooting] is covered,” Hogg, 17, said Monday during a live Q&A on Twitter.

“If this happened in a place of a lower socioeconomic status or ... a black community, no matter how well those people spoke, I don’t think the media would cover it the same,” Hogg continued. “We have to use our white privilege now to make sure that all of the people that have died as a result of [gun violence] and haven’t been covered the same can now be heard.”

Six Stoneman Douglas students turned #NeverAgain activists ― Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Alex Wind, Jaclyn Corin, Ryan Deitsch and Cameron Kasky ― acknowledged the disproportionate effect gun violence has on people of color as well as those living in poorer communities.

“We’re an affluent community ― that’s why initially everybody followed this [shooting] so closely,” Kasky, 17, said during the Twitter Q&A. “There are communities that ... have to deal with [gun violence] on a much more regular basis and have to feel a lot less safe than we do.”

People of color are more often affected by gun violence in the United States, yet the media and the American public have paid comparatively little attention to their stories. While the media has elevated the voices of Parkland survivors, activists of color have discussed why shootings in their communities and their own calls to action are largely ignored.

A group of Parkland survivors met with students from Chicago earlier this month to discuss how gun violence affects their community and how they can work together to keep everyone safer. These students, as well as others disproportionately harmed by gun violence, are now slated to speak at March For Our Lives, a massive protest against gun violence to be held on March 24 in Washington, D.C.

“We have to represent those who unfortunately were ignored,” Kasky said on Monday. “This is not just about us. ... When we’re together marching, this is not going to be different races, different generations ― this is going to be a unified people standing together against those who are trying to ignore us.”

Parkland survivors’ discussion of media coverage begins around the 30-minute mark in the footage below.

CONVERSATIONS