Black students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School held a press conference last week asking for their voices to be included in the “March for Our Lives” movement. In an interview with HuffPost, they also called out prominent fellow student David Hogg for saying he would use his “white privilege” to be a voice for black communities yet failing to invite them to meetings or reach out to them in any way.
“We’re saying you don’t see much of us at the forefront,” 17-year-old junior Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, who is black, told HuffPost.
“It hurts, because they went all the way to Chicago to hear these voices when we’re right here,” Ho-Shing said, referencing a meeting the March for Our Lives organizers had with students in Chicago about gun violence. “We go to school with you every day.”
A group of Black students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High called a press conference today to say they have concerns that may not mirror those of their white peers. And that the media should listen. #MSDStrong pic.twitter.com/f3iy85Szi7— Nadege C. Green (@NadegeGreen) March 28, 2018
“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,’” she added.
“There is a lot of racial disparity in the way that this is covered,” Hogg said in March. “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,” he emphasized. “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.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Tyah-Amoy Roberts also told Refinery29 that Hogg and the other organizers haven’t been practicing what they preach.
“We feel like people within the movement have definitely addressed racial disparity, but haven’t adequately taken action to counteract that racial disparity,” she said, noting that the March for Our Lives leaders haven’t been inviting her and other black students to meetings. “They’ve been saying, but they haven’t been doing.”
After their press conference, Ho-Shing said Emma González had reached out to talk, but there were still no plans for a meeting of the March for Our Lives leaders and the black students.