The Student Voice team’s thoughts are with communities affected by recent incidents of gun violence, including the 19 students and 2 teachers killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and the 10 people killed in the incident of white supremacist violence in Buffalo, New York. It is difficult to find language to describe the senselessness of the violence we have witnessed over the last several weeks and in recent years. For students growing up in the United States today, gun violence, and the lack of action from our decisionmakers to prevent it, is a daily reality of our lives. The absurdity of our organization having to issue yet another response to such an act of violence does not escape us.
We also call attention to the intersecting systems of oppression which have affected responses to the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings, as well as other acts of gun violence. The incidents in Uvalde and Buffalo both illuminate the persistence of white supremacy in our country and the urgent need for racial justice. First, it is critical to note that the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto cited the racist ‘great replacement’ theory and outlined specific plans to murder Black people. Additionally, the failure of Uvalde police officers to stop the violence and their unwarranted aggression against parents attempting to protect their own children reaffirms what Black and brown student organizers have continually told us: policing does not make school safer. Lastly, the Student Voice team is disgusted by attempts to paint the shooting in Uvalde as an immigration issue. Our hearts are with community members who were affected by the presence of Border Patrol agents at the scene, especially in a predominately Latinx community with a complex history with law enforcement.
Now, we must create effective solutions that protect marginalized communities, not rely on the same reactionary logics which have failed to create change. Rather than increasing police presence and further militarizing schools, the Student Voice team instead demands that decisionmakers follow the lead of student organizers working to prevent the root causes of gun violence and reimagining public safety through a racial justice lens.
About Student Voice
Student Voice is a by-students, for-students 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in all 50 states to equip students as storytellers, organizers and institutional partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity. Through direct civic action, Student Voice helps students hold their schools and surrounding communities accountable to the Student Bill of Rights and prepares them to become lifelong agents of social and political change. For more information about Student Voice, visit our website at StuVoice.org and follow @Stu_Voice and #StuVoice on social media.