Amanda Matos has a candid conversation with Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad about the March For Our Lives movement, the tension between the question of gun violence in communities of color and the narrative of mass shootings, and the power of intersectional youth organizing to develop a principled platform against gun violence.
There’s a huge myth going around right now and the myth is that young people are all of the sudden “awoken” to justice. Awoken to movement building. Awoken to protesting and rallies. But young people have always been involved. And anti-violence work and gun control work has been happening for over two decades and has been led by youth of color from Chicago to NYC to Atlanta. And I think this is a clear moment, for me, that I have a commitment to elevating these voices while a lot of the conversation has been centered particularly on the incredible youth of Parkland.
David Hogg’s speech really has resonated with me. He, particularly, at the march and in other conversations, has been talking openly about his own white privilege, which is something I haven’t seen many white people in positions of power or public figures do. And him, as a teenager, has this self-awareness about whiteness that I found surprising, but also refreshing. And so, the fact that he helped kick off one of the beginning speeches talking about the fact that him and his friends have this platform and what they’ve been doing to elevate voices of black youth and youth of color amazed me. And something that I also found refreshing were two fierce, fierce women of color, Naomi Wadler and Emma Chavez , who shook things up. Who spoke unapologetically about their own experiences tied to gun violence where they were respecting and acknowledging the leadership of Parkland youth and at the same time holding them accountable because, from East LA to shootings in Alabama, black and brown youth have been at the forefront of all of this work. Yet media, the newspapers, even conversations at Harvard, rarely, if at all, center them in the conversation.
What I find exciting is seeing how these groups will actually work together now that their voices have been amplified on the mainstream level and how can Parkland create space to talk about handguns and how can the youth of color, who have been mobilizing for years, take advantage of this opportunity to ask for everything they deserve.
Listen to the entire episode below: