Holding a fan emblazoned with the colors of the trans pride flag and the words: “End Trans Gun Violence,” Parkland massacre survivor and #MarchForOurLives founder David Hogg took the stage at the opening of the United States Conference on AIDS in Orlando, Fla., this September.
The renowned anti-gun violence activist now attracts concert-sized crowds when he speaks in venues around the country.
“We’re more upset about a pair of shoes than gun violence... or HIV and AIDS,” said Hogg. His speech came just days after a conservative backlash had begun against Nike, over their new Colin Kaepernick ad.
But it’s a reminder of how Hogg draws the connection to his own trauma—almost all of the murders of trans women over the last few years have been by gun fire.
Hogg is not the first Parkland survivor to use his platform and significant social media following the deadly school shooting to bring attention to the current HIV crisis. Cameron Kasky recently joined amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, in their mission to end the global AIDS epidemic through its #BeEpic campaign, which raises money for the cause.
Hogg is keenly aware of the way his particular talents mesh with how his generation thinks. New York magazine recently stated of the young activist, “A lot of what has catapulted Hogg to this elevated and precarious place is his wonkishness: his dexterity on social media and cable news, his appetite for the nitty-gritty of policy disputes.”
At the March For Our Lives, Hogg hung an orange tag stamped “$1.05” around the microphone—the price Parkland students calculated that their senator, Marco Rubio, put on each of their lives, given the donations he’d accepted from the NRA. (At graduation, he attached it to his mortarboard like a tassel.)
Hogg’s Twitter feed is a study in narrative discipline, its relentless focus on the politicians who accept gun-lobby money twinned with exhortations to his nearly 900,000 followers to vote.
“People call us snowflakes,” he tweeted earlier this year. “What happens when all the snowflakes vote? That’s called an avalanche.”