As the Parkland shooting students are receiving support from media and the public, some black activists are wondering: Where was this backing when they were marching in the streets?
In the aftermath of a former student killing seventeen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the student survivors have begun to mobilize, calling for gun control, marching to the Florida state Capitol to demand meetings with legislators and demanding the removal of politicians who accept money from the National Rifle Association.
Public support for the students was also swift — celebrities donated money to the cause and they were even referred to as “freedom riders,” leaving black activists to wonder where such affirmation was when they took to the streets in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri.
“We’re watching these students walk out of school and stop traffic and we’re not seeing the National Guard down there. We’re not seeing tear gas being thrown at them. There’s one distinct difference between those groups and that is race,” writer and activist George M. Johnson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Other black activists seem to agree as well. Feminist activist Roxane Gay noted that while she was impressed with how the Parkland students have been able to deal with their trauma, the people who protested in Ferguson weren’t treated the same.
“I started to think about this after George Clooney’s announcement. And it isn’t divisive to observe the difference in support from the media, from celebrities, etc. I think the FL kids are f—ing awesome but so are the kids in Ferguson and Baltimore and Chicago and more,” Gay tweeted.
There are some stark differences between the two scenarios. So far, the Parkland student protesters have remained peaceful. The Ferguson and Baltimore protests, launched after the police death of two black men, saw city residents tearing down businesses, setting fire to the city, and destroying various property.
The damage done to Baltimore businesses after the Freddie Gray riots cost about $9 million.
For Johnson, the difference between the treatment is still about race.
“Activism isn’t always going to be pretty,” Johnson told TheDCNF, adding that protesters rose up because they didn’t feel safe in Ferguson or Baltimore.
“If I can’t walk around safely in this place where I am supposed to live, then it’s not my city.”
Despite activists’ issues with how they have been treated as compared to the Parkland students, they have all been quick to voice support for the students’ cause and to offer help if need be.
“I think that’s the beautiful thing about black activism because we are always looking out for everybody,” Johnson told TheDCNF. “If they needed us to show up and we had the means, we would.”
A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
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