With each horrific mass shooting — like the one at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; the one in Thousand Oaks, California; the one at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas; and way too many more to list here — the gun violence debates restart. Over and over and over again, the mainstream media blankets the country with coverage about how to stop it from happening again. But, when a shooting goes down in a community where the impact is felt largely by Black people? Those TLs and news headlines fall silent.
Did you hear, for instance, that on Monday, November 19, 13-year-old Sandra Parks — an eighth-grader who’s spoken against gun violence for the past two years — was killed by a stray bullet to her chest while she was in her own bedroom? And did you hear that on the very same day, 5-year-old Amy Hayes, the little sister of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes who was shot to death last July, was also struck by a bullet in West Baltimore while walking down the street carrying her doll? She’s expected to survive.
What about 10-year-old Makiya Wilson, who was gunned down while playing in a crowded courtyard in her Washington, D.C. neighborhood last summer? What about Tatiyania Aaliyah Thompson, who was shot and killed in an apartment in D.C. soon after her 16th birthday? What about 17-year-old China Marie Lyons-Upshaw? And Courtlin Arrington? And all the others who didn’t make it? Where are the calls for stricter gun laws then? Where’s the coverage of their communities speaking out — because they do speak out.
Firearms are the leading cause of death for Black kids and teens, according to EveryTown and the CDC. The. Leading. Cause. The 1-9 is on the come up, and next year, let’s turn those tired resolutions into New Year’s revolutions. Let’s speak loud, march strong, vote (if you’re 18+), write your reps — for all of our lives.
Not quite sure how to get started? Our winter issue’s got some specific New Year’s revolutions tips. You can also find inspiration from other Black girls in the movement. A few of our faves:
- Stephanie Younger
AKA @blaquefeminist, Stephanie is a student activist from Richmond, Virginia, who uses her blog and her connects with the Richmond Peace Education Center and the ACLU of Virginia to advocate for diversity in S.T.E.A.M., for the abolition of youth imprisonment, for the use of nonviolence as conflict resolution, and against gun violence. In a post on her blog Black Feminist Collective, Stephanie wrote, “The mainstream media’s abundant support for the students in Parkland and the minimal support for Black youth, who are affected by [gun violence] the most, is evident. This movement against gun violence has been deemed a ‘new wave of student activism’ when Black students have been rallying against gun violence for generations.”
- Naomi Wadler
Now 12 years old, Naomi, too, called out the fact that while Black girls are disproportionately affected by gun violence, their stories aren’t being told by major news outlets. “I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential,” she said at March for Our Lives when she was just 11.
- Winter Minisee
Seventeen-year-old Winter is one of the Women’s March Youth leaders and played a role in organizing the National School Walkout held March 14. “A lot of students always ask me, ‘How can I get involved in activism?’ Winter told us in an interview earlier this year. “The first thing I tell them is to use [their] social media platform because it’s a great way to connect with people around the world.”
Have you been involved in fighting against gun violence? Tweet us to tell us your story!
Now Peep This >> Students Have Always Been Leaders in the Movement. You Can, Too.