John King Jr., former Secretary of Education under President Obama, wrote for Elle Magazine on what he's seen these past few months from students across the country in their action against gun violence. He highlights the impressive magnitude of the movement that's formed since the Parkland shooting, but really focuses on the intersectional approach the leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have taken:
"Only weeks after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, student leaders held discussions and collaborated with young people of color in Chicago, many of whom have been dealing with the plague of gun violence all their lives. Indeed, the Parkland students have leveraged their new national platform to shine a spotlight on others who, too frequently, fight for justice in the dark."
He also opens the conversation up beyond gun violence, specifically. For him and many others, this violence is a symptom of larger institutional issues within our government and society:
"But activists and advocates also know that we need even more fundamental systemic change. As Jamal Jones fromthe Baltimore Algebra Project told me, 'No matter what, an opportunity is missed if we don’t talk about the fact that gun violence is a symptom of poverty.'"
Finally, John recognizes the courage and vulnerability this work takes for everyone; "in all of this, we must remember that activism is more than just a hashtag. It is a matter of life and death."