Concern for gun violence shouldn’t begin and end with school shootings.

In the midst of tragedy due to gun violence, Parkland students are meeting with peers in Chicago to address the national issue. Last month, the deadliest school shooting in America’s history occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting has resulted in protests and pushes for change from the student survivors whose lives will forever be changed by senseless violence. However, gun violence is nothing new. What does the push for change mean for those who live outside of gated communities?

These truths and pizza were the perfect mix to bring Parkland students and Chicago students together to have a real and raw conversation. According to Emma González, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, the groups met to discuss how to better use their platform to help the voices of underrepresented voices be heard.

“Yesterday, the members of @AMarch4OurLives got to meet up with some of the most wonderful and most strong spoken students of Chicago. “Florida’s safest city” and one of the cities in America most affected by gun violence came together to share stories, ideologies, and pizza,” González tweets.

“Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone,” she continues. “Since we all share in feeling this pain and know all too well how it feels to have to grow up at the snap of a finger, we were able to cover a lot of ground in communicating our experiences.

People of color in inner-cities and everywhere have been dealing with this for a despicably long time, and the media cycles just don’t cover the violence the way they did here. The platform us Parkland Students have established is to be shared with every person, black or white, gay or straight, religious or not, who has experienced gun violence, and hand in hand, side by side, We Will Make This Change Together.”

Chicago has often been a go-to reference for the violence in inner cities; however, they are not met with compassion but a chance to push the idea of “black-on-black crime.” This is perhaps one of the first times that the things happening in Chicago are looked at through the lens of gun control rather than innate violence.

As major figures in the culture seem to be rallying behind Parkland students, their collaboration with students from Chicago could be huge. It’s already been pointed out that the reception to this protesting has been significantly different than the reception of Black Lives Matter activism. If Chicago and Parkland are on the same wave, it will that much harder to attempt to discredit the BLM movement as a whole.

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