Any rap enthusiast will tell you how important your mic time is; for Black students involved in the Parkland shooting they feel they should be getting more, in line with their peers.

Black Parkland students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have a bone to pick with the image of their classmates, while still celebrating all the work that they’ve done.  Recently, Black students affected by the Parkland shooting called a press conference to discuss how they are disproportionately counted out of the narrative on school and community gun violence. They admit their peers are doing a commendable job concerning diversity on the subject, but are dismayed that March For Our Lives Rally went all the way to Chicago to discuss gun violence in black communities. In short, why fly to Chicago when students of color are dealing with this violence here at home?

MSD  High School student, 17-year-old junior Mei-Ling Ho-Shing had this to say to the Huffington Post:

“We’re saying you don’t see much of us at the forefront…It hurts, because they went all the way to Chicago to hear these voices when we’re right here…We go to school with you every day.”

Compared to their classmates like David Hogg who is white and Emma Gonzalez who is latina, they feel that they are getting considerably less airtime. Although they are not jealous of their classmates, they feel that some of the students representing the movement come from neighborhoods surrounding MSD High School that aren’t plagued by gun violence.  While the Black students who make up 11% of the student body (part of the minority students who only make up 40% of the school’s 3,000 students) they actually come from low-income areas who more directly affected by this type of violence. Ho-Shing mentioned during the press conference that their six degrees of separation are a lot closer than their classmates who come from largely white, affluent, and safe areas around the school.

Ho-Shing went on to say while speaking with the Huffington Post:

“David Hogg, we’re proud of him, but he mentioned he was going to use his White privilege to be the voice for black communities, and we’re kind of sitting there like, You know there are Stoneman Douglas students who could be that voice.”

Regardless of the reason that Black students and survivors of the Parkland shooting feel left out of the conversation, it is up to the media at large to fix it. We understand that David Hogg and Cameron Kasky may be well spoken, funny, as well as relatable (we don’t argue with the good work they are doing in any way), we cannot forget about those who live this tragedy as a normal part of life. As much as it is necessary for white voices to support Blacks when it comes to violence and civil rights issues, they cannot be the only one’s that are heard. Students like Ho-Shing were made first hand experts the day a shooter opened fire on February 14th in their classrooms, but also because the gun violence in their neighborhood that also may involve police violence has to be addressed.

Tyah-Amoy Roberts, who spoke during the March press conference, brings up the shocking truth that Black Parkland survivors may have distinctly different concerns than their White or non-Black counterparts. They need their own unique voice and national platform to discuss the messy and controversial issues that aren’t being resolved. These are problems such as:

  • Over policing in minority neighborhoods
  • Drugs and drug violence in low-income neighborhoods
  • Gun violence involving police and unarmed black men/teens
  • Consequences of an overmilitarized predominantly White school, where blacks may end up being targets of that racial disparity.

MSD Student Kai may have said it best:

The media needs to provide fair, balanced, and unbiased coverage for all the voices affected by the violence in Parkland and similar gun violence in schools and neighborhoods around the country. #MSDStrong