In the wake of the tragic shooting that left 17 people dead at a highschool in Parkland, Fla., students who survived the deadly massacre are now working to make their voices heard in the call for stricter gun laws.
Words of encouragement and support poured in for the students of Stoneman Douglas High School who traveled by the busload to Florida’s state capitol this week, demanding changes to state and national gun legislation.
Activist and journalist George M. Johnson was among those offering his support but made it a point to highlight the lack of empathy for activists of color fighting for similar causes.
“Interesting how these kids in Florida are being called Freedom Fighters while protesters in Ferguson were being called thugs and mysteriously ending up dead with minimal support,” Johnson tweeted Tuesday. “We can’t only support activism when its based on respectability politics. It’s all necessary.”
Johnson, whose work has appeared on NBC and TeenVogue, said while he finds what the Florida kids are doing is “amazing,” students in Baltimore simply didn’t receive the same level of support in their efforts to affect change.
“I hope they f–k shit up,” he said in support of the Parkland students. “But the Baltimore uprising got deemed ‘they destroying their own city.’ We were told that Freddie Gray killed himself and certain folks said BLM had no ‘leadership.’ ”
Johnson’s comments drew mixed reactions from fellow Twitter users, but most were in agreeance with his calling out of double standards perpetuated by the media.
“I was thinking the same. WHO is killed by whom appears to be more important than the killing itself,” wrote one user.
“Are we really surprised tho?” wrote another. “Protestors of a certain hue were called thugs, and asked why are you destroying your neighborhood but yet the rioters after the superbowl were just blowing off steam.”
Johnson tied up his remarks with this nugget of encouragement:
I want us, skinfolk and kinfolk to support activism that isn’t pretty.
My life story wasn’t and isn’t pretty. Many of our existences aren’t pretty.
I want our rage to be supported when it’s ugly and in your face.
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) February 21, 2018