Being a person of color, especially in social & political moments like these you simultaneously fluctuate between grief and hope. To be black, you are constantly dreaming of an alternative reality than the status quo yet cynical about the possibility for change. So many of us are thankful that gun reform is having a breakthrough moment, thankful that these Parkland teens are checking their privilege & highlighting communities & voices that have gone before them yet grieving the fact that they even have too. Grieving the reality that when black youth stood up against gun violence and police brutality they were mostly ignored then suddenly deemed terrorists.
While Parkland has its critics and has been attacked by those same machines it has been nowhere near what black youth received. Unlike Parkland, our communities like Baltimore, Ferguson, Chicago, DC, LA were not seen as resilient and reformational but demonized as hotbeds of deviant behavior and black on black crime.
This is why I as an advocate I purposely center the insight, intellect, opinions, feelings, wisdom and lived experiences of who pundits call “the woke ass black kids on twitter” above all others(Catholic liberation theology calls this “the preferential option of the poor”). It’s why I retweet the hell outta them, favorite their tweets, read their articles, etc.
I’m lucky enough to be a black kid from Detroit that people listen too and I’m willing to leverage my little platform because I grew up with kids like them. I went to church camps & public school, lived next too and played in public parks with the very people America deems are not worth paying attention too. I have too. Cause if I don’t take them seriously who will? The object lesson here being... we all should!
So while we celebrate the beauty and victory of the #MarchForOurLives moment and the breakthrough that is finally happening we still mourn it as bittersweet. We still grieve the lives of Black American youth whose bodies were decimated, whose activism was shut down, whose non profits were never funded, and whose ideas for education and economic development were silenced. It’s time we listen to the ones society says don’t matter!