The Gun Control Fight Is a Fight For Equality
When the survivors of the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took to Florida’s capitol in February, sparking nationwide actions in solidarity, they were echoing the actions of an earlier group of young people protesting a shooting.
George Zimmerman’s July 13, 2013, acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, brought the Dream Defenders, an organization formed after Martin’s death, to the capitol to demand that legislators take action, particularly against the state’s “Stand Your Ground” gun law. Governor Rick Scott turned up wearing cowboy boots with Confederate flags printed on them. He told them there was nothing he could do.
The Parkland students descended on the capitol just days from the six-year anniversary of Martin’s death, an anniversary that also commemorated the creation of many of the groups that have made headlines in the years since. Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, BYP 100, and others were formed in the aftermath of Martin’s death, yet are mostly separated in the press and the political debates from the issue of “gun violence.” Their demands are a reminder that the problem of gun-related deaths is rooted not just in a surfeit of deadly weapons, but also in a culture of racialized violence and inequality.