After Saturday’s massive March for Our Lives rally in D.C., several hundred students of color from all over the country met at the city’s Blind Whino SW Arts Club in Southwest to discuss issues of gun violence in their communities.
Though many have lamented the lack of voices of color in the ongoing national conversation on gun violence, others saw the march as an opportunity to include other viewpoints.
Valencia Gunder, a teacher from Florida and one of the coordinators of the Blind Whino event, spoke of the motivation for organizing the post-march summit, particularly in the wake of last month’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“We’re about 30 to 40 minutes away from Parkland and in our communities and in the Black communities we deal with gun violence every day,” Gunder said of her school. “So a lot of the kids were wondering when are we going to have the chance to speak up for our communities that are dying from guns, too.”
Ian Callender, native Washingtonian and owner and proprietor of The Blind Whino, also felt compelled to get involved. While the Blind Whino began as a public art project, it has become much more, including a space to host art and activism events.
“I ride for our people, so I know if I had the capacity to take this on, it’s a no-brainer,” Callender said.