An estimated half-million students from across the United States are expected to march in the U.S. capital on Saturday to demand gun reform. The high school shooting in South Florida has galvanized students across the country.
Students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in South Florida boarded buses early Thursday morning to participate in the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. They want lawmakers and the public to remember that black and minority youth are the most common victims of gun violence.
Janai Tenor, one of the students traveling from Miami is demanding more attention from the public, “The media comes out for the things that are rare to happen and I feel that even goes to show that they know it’s normal in our neighborhood, which it’s why they don’t bring it out every day. They know that it is a routine for us. And, because I feel l wake up every day, I’m surviving the natural. I’m surviving my norm, I feel like I am a hero in itself, because by being able to walk the streets of my neighborhood and go to school every day and make it back.”
In the U.S., around 10 times more black children die in shootings every year than white children. These students kept telling me that the see gun violence every day and no one pays the same attention to them. They represent ICARE-Inner City Alumni for Responsible Education. They traveled for two days to join the mass student protest for gun reforms.
The demonstrations-inspired by the advocacy group “Never Again MSD.” MSD stands for Marjory Stoneman Douglas-the high school where a gunman killed 17 people in February. It was that latest U.S. school shooting-and these students want it to be the last.
I was allowed to join these Miami inner city students in their search for justice and awareness. Though it took us close to thirty-six hours to get to Washington DC. It was an eye opener, for me as a journalist. Inner city children need more attention and resources to deal with the violence they face.
“A lot of people ask about gun violence and how we can stop it. And, a lot of people say OK, but somebody has to take the stand. The adults have to lead the students or the youth. But, has anybody stopped to realize that the adults do not know what to do either? And that is why we are running around in circles. The blind cannot lead the blind,” says Nija Maxwell, a 17 years-old student from Miami Norland Senior High School.
They say they just want to be heard. These students want the hashtag ‘#Never Again’ to also mean … ‘Never Again Ignored.’