Student survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have said they have to use their “white privilege” to make sure that the stories of other students across the country who experience gun violence are also heard.
During a live-stream interview on Twitter with his classmates, activist David Hogg — a student in Parkland, Florida — said that there was a disparity in the way that news media covers gun violence, and that he felt compelled to speak up about that using his platform.
“There is a lot of racial disparity in the way that this is covered,” Mr Hogg said of last month's shooting. “If this happened in a place of 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.”
“And I think it’s important that we point that out as Americans and realise that. Because, we have to use our white privilege now to make sure that all of the voices that....all of the people that have died as a result of this and haven’t been covered the same can be heard,” he continued. “It’s sad, but true.”
The remarks come just days after other Parkland students visited their peers in the Chicago Public Schools system to brainstorm how to stage demonstrations for the March for Our Lives demonstration that will be held in the city this weekend.
In doing so, the students highlighted the high rates of gun violence in the city, which rarely get national media attention. There were 4,000 shooting victims in the city in 2016, contributing to a spike in homicides that year.
Sam Zeif, one of the students who visited Chicago, called it “heartbreaking to know they’ve been feeling this pain and fear for nearly their whole lives”.
Students are will participate in the March for our Lives demonstration Saturday in communities across the country, including in Chicago and in Washington. It is the latest demonstration since the Parkland shooting last month, when 17 students and faculty were killed by a man who opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in the school, which is located in a relatively affluent community in Southern Florida.