The tragic shooting massacre at Miami's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School immediately inspired Florida teens to stand up and fight for what they believed in–more effective gun control. Their activism garnered wide praise, including celebrities who banded together to donate toward the teens' March for Our Lives initiative. However, many people have begun to question why this movement is gaining more support than the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last Tuesday, Oprah tweeted that she would match George and Amal Clooney's $500,000 donation for the march. In her tweet, she compared the Florida teen activists to the Freedom Riders who fought for black Americans' right to vote.
George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’ These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 20, 2018
On the contrary, the mainstream accolades and support for the Florida teen activists have been starkly different for Black Lives Matter movement. BLM activists are side-eyeing the recent backing for "March For Our Lives," given the lack of assistance they received for their own efforts fighting against police brutality.
Acclaimed author Roxane Gay even called out the double standard a few days ago, noting, "I think the FL kids are f*cking awesome but so are the kids in Ferguson and Baltimore and Chicago and more."
National director of Black Youth Project 100 Charlene Carruthers tweeted her disappointment on Twitter in response to Oprah's tweet.
Gosh. This is amazing. And a I'm not being sarcastic. I have to be honest and say that I'm a bit taken aback (and a bit hurt) that those of us who were in the streets in the past five years for Black lives didn't receive this type of reception or public support. https://t.co/HLYXTcVdfL— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) February 21, 2018
I promise y'all. I'm happy for these young people. I just know how so many young people have put their lives on the line over the past five years. We're rarely compared to Freedom Riders and recipients of such public support. I shouldn't be bothered, but I am.— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) February 21, 2018
Carruthers speaks to the fact that Black Lives Matter has not received this same outpouring of celebrity or financial support; some members of the movement have even been labeled domestic terrorists.
In looking for explanations as to why the gun control activists seem to be gaining traction over BLM activists, Carruthers and activist Leslie Mac noted that there is a marked difference in the skin color of many of the gun control youth leaders and the BLM leaders:
I started posting about this earlier & just got depressed & went for a walk. Watching how white supremacy plays out – even in how white youth vs Black youth are supported when fighting for right is depressing.— LeslieMac (@LeslieMac) February 21, 2018
Yea, I don't think theres a limited amount of support or money. Just where were folks when…there's too many examples.— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) February 21, 2018
We it’s clear – the things BYP, Dream Defenders, Million Hoodies and such were & are fighting for aren’t seen as “valuable” or “worthy” of support.— LeslieMac (@LeslieMac) February 21, 2018