Plastered on the cover of the April 2nd issue of Time magazine are the prominent members of the #NeverAgain movement, with the bold enlarged caption, “Enough.” These students have been leading a revolution of sorts. After the tragic school shooting that left 17 members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dead, these students are speaking out about the country’s gun laws and regulations. This movement has gained national support, as these kids have been making active efforts to change the system. They even organized March for Our Lives, which encouraged participation from cities across the country as the protesters united to demand that government officials stop the violence.
Overall, these young activists have been successful in drawing attention to their cause and starting a conversation about gun regulation. And while these kids have my full support, I can’t help but acknowledge the undeniable irony in their movement in comparison to the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM, as it’s commonly referred to, started in 2013 when three bold, Black activists generated the movement in response to the untimely death of teenager, Trayvon Martin. The movement continues to grow and gain more members every year, as Black citizens are killed unjustly and their murdered suffer no consequences. And just like #NeverAgain, BLM has been under scrutiny since its origin. But the irony in watching the #NeverAgain movement unfold comes from the general perception of their movement. Activists, young and old, have made their voices heard through their peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. And somehow, the movement has been invalidated by most of the country. BLM has been pleading the country for gun control to save the lives of the young and innocent. But instead of supporting them, people call them thugs and combat their message of “black lives matter” by crying “all lives matter,” as if the prior contradicts the latter. And protesters are frequently met with police forces, like in Baton Rouge in October 2017, when the BLM marchers were forced to the ground without any reason from the police. Somehow, their peaceful protests get misconstrued as violent riots.
On the contrary, the kids participating in March for Our Lives were met with overwhelming support from the country. Sure, there were conservatives that maliciously flung insults at these 17 and 18 year olds, but the support that received was still massive and international. Black Lives Matter protests were simply observed by the rest of the world as they watched to see what would happen. Even those who believed in their movement watched from the sidelines and criticized their protests. March for Our Lives, however, gained active participation and support by most of the world. People supported them in their exercise of their first amendment right in a way BLM never got. Both movement are shedding light on profound detriments in our society and both should be actively and zealously supported. And yet, somehow Black kids standing up for their lives means less to the world than when primarily white kids do it.