Armored in orange, students all over the country left their classes on April 20 to protest the atrocities committed in their own classrooms. They walked out of class, took to the streets and protested on DC grounds, marching for their lives in record numbers.
However, some Black American students at CHS wonder: where were the walkouts when Black fathers were shot in their cars, when Black sons were shot while on their iPhones at the hands of the police?
Some Black students at CHS have reflected on what they believe to be a lack of support for Black lives during the recent increase of protests and media coverage of school shootings.
“I think that it’s good that kids are trying to do something about it, that they’re standing up for what they believe in,” said Christine Njogu, freshman.
However, some feel like it has minimized the ongoing violence against Black Americans that has been occurring for hundreds of years.
“I think that gun violence and police brutality should both be taken into account together, and it shouldn’t be one thing more concentrated on than the other, because both things have been happening,” said Njogu.
“Recently, because of all of the school shootings, I think that [gun violence has] been more of the popular thing to protest against, but now police brutality is a secondary thought,”
Leon Wambugu, Carrboro High sophomore, agrees.
“I do think police brutality has been swept under the rug because it’s more of a minority issue, so it’s not been given as much attention: but school shootings, they’ve recently come up in the news. It doesn’t happen as often as police aggression so [school shootings are] reported much more often,” said Wambugu.
Wambugu compared the media coverage to that of plane crashes and car crashes.
“[It’s] like with plane crashes: they report them much more than car crashes because they happen less,” said Wambugu.
Some Black students at CHS feel that the media’s lack of coverage of police brutality is para-
“I think it’s kind of hypocritical that people care about guns when it comes to shooters, but they don’t care about the fact that law enforcement is supposed to protect you, but they’re also hurting a lot of people,” said Selia Lounes, sophomore. “I also think that it’s kind of annoying that people don’t talk about it anymore. Now that there’s a ton of shootings they’re taking more about that.”
Selia Lounes believes that the difference in the coverage and protesting is impacted by racial biases, and her twin sister, Louise Lounes, agreed.
“It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important than the other, but one of them definitely needs better attention” said Louise Lounes, CHS sophomore. “I don’t like saying it, but I do think it’s a race thing.”
Other students echo this sentiment. “I guess it’s a bigger issue because when white kids are being killed, they’re not being seen as dangerous,” said Wambugu.
Many other students shared this feeling of the media not supporting Black Americans as much as White Americans.
“They’re both big issues…they should both be dealt with at the same time, not put one in front of the other. I have noticed there’s a lot more support for this ‘March for Our Lives’ than there has been than when the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests were going on,” said Selia Lounes.
“You see a lot of stuff about how when there were protests about ‘Black Lives Matter’ people got sent to jail, but when there were protests for ‘Enough is Enough’ people were getting free lodging and bus rides. It’s a very different approach, not like one of them is more important thanthe other, but one of them definitely needs better attention,” said Louise Lounes.
Overall, the interviewed students support the walkouts and protesting of gun violence in schools, but they also hope that the same energy will be put towards other forms of violence.