Today is the 1 year anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting one of the survivors, Mei-Ling Ho-Shing. You may not be familiar with her because her profile hasnt been elevated to the level of others by mainstream media that centers white, male voices.
But I can assure you she has been one of the most dynamic voices against gun violence to emerge from this tragedy, and even before it. Mei-Ling offers a nuanced perspective of the intersectionality of being a black woman from the inner-city who transferred to an upper middle class white suburban school to escape gun violence, only to encounter it in the worst way.
Something that stuck with me from her first hand account of that day 1 year ago is how her trauma was different from everyone else’s trauma who didnt look like her or share her social location. She spoke about the way law enforcement responded, handling each student like the unapprehended would-be shooter and how that experience was different for her as a black woman. Or the fact that every white boy with red hair is a trigger now, or that many of the students who have shared the spotlight in the aftermath of the shooting weren’t even on campus that day because they were away taking college classes on another campus – but because they were the most well trained or most well spoken they were the preferred spokespersons.
All this to say, as we remember the victims of the Parkland shooting through the lens of a selected few survivors, let us consider the minority reports too – the unheard but not untold stories of those from a different background or context, with a different trauma, who can perhaps offer us different solutions for how we make America’s schools safer places for EVERYONE in the face of this uniquely American terrorism.
Ulysses Burley III
Former presidential advisor at White House