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People Of Color Respond To Parkland


This past week, we watched student survivors from the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., challenge Senator Marco Rubio, the NRA and even President Donald Trump. But in the midst of heavy media coverage of another tragic act of gun violence, people of color are missing from the conversation, even though studies show they are more likely to be killed by gun violence in America. Rev. Michael McBride is the director for urban strategies and the LIVE FREE Campaign at the PICO National Network, a faith-based organization working to provide grassroots solutions to tackle gun violence. He joins us from San Francisco, Calif.

Reverend, you've helped organize events in the wake of shootings in Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Baltimore. And those are largely black and brown cities. But you also organized events after the shooting in Sandy Hook, which is a mainly white area. So from your experience, is the reaction different based on the racial makeup of the affected community?

MICHAEL MCBRIDE: We have seen that the uprisings of protest and civil disobedience are being largely received differently when the populations doing the protesting are white or affluent versus those who are black, brown and poor.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What would you like to see in terms of black and brown communities being included in this current conversation? How would that look?

MCBRIDE: We need to tell the truth about the role that race and poverty and a social location play in the ways in which policies and responses to violence happen. We need to acknowledge that the largest threat to this country, according to all of the data, when we talk about mass shootings are white males. And so what kind of intervention must be made towards white males to deal with the toxicity of masculinity, the anger, the frustration that they are drowning in that is causing terror?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One of the solutions that President Trump and the NRA offered for mass shootings is arming teachers and other school employees. What are your thoughts on that?

MCBRIDE: I think it's got to be the most sinister, cynical, ridiculous policy solution that I've ever heard. This is why we can't even attempt to have these conversations in such vacuums without having a lens of race, a lens of class and a lens of social location on the table. I'll just lift up a name, Philando Castile, a school worker in Minnesota licensed to carry a gun. And he was still shot by a police officer. Can you imagine what it would even look like if - if individuals were being armed on their way to school and the kind of impact that that would have, even right now, given the ways in which shootings are happening between law enforcement and others in the community?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm assuming that one of the reasons is because asking minority school employees to put themselves - would be putting themselves at risk if they were carrying these weapons.

MCBRIDE: Well, I mean, I don't think the role of a teacher or educator is to is to carry weapons into a learning environment. I mean, again, the logic of it just makes no sense. Why not make every effort to disarm and reduce the number of weapons that are even available to individuals who would be at the highest risk of unleashing that kind of violence, right?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Rev. Michael McBride from the PICO National Network, thank you so much for joining us.

MCBRIDE: Oh, very honored. Thank you for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAKEY INSPIRED'S "NEW DAY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.