More than 1 million Americans took to the streets in March For Our Lives national gun control protests on Saturday. The protests were organised by Never Again MSD, the gun control advocacy group created by approximately 20 student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14.
17 students and teachers were murdered during the rampage by an ex-student with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
One of the founders of the #NeverAgain movement, 18 year old Emma González, gave a deeply moving speech at Saturday’s Washington rally.
"Six minutes and about 20 seconds,” she said. “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the (Marjory Stoneman) Douglas community was forever altered.”
“Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands.”
González named all of the victims of the school shooting before standing in powerful silence, with tears rolling down her face, for four and a half minutes, until a timer went off.
“Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest.”
“Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
It was González’s powerful 'we call BS' speech at a Florida rally just three days after the Feb. 14 mass shooting that went viral and threw her and the #NeverAgain founders, including David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind, into the international spotlight.
González told Yahoo that her passionate drive towards activism is directly related to her sexual identity. She identifies as bisexual and is the president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
“They’re definitely linked for me personally. If I wasn’t so open about who I was, I never would’ve been able to do this,” she said.
“In ninth grade, I was in a creative writing class where I could actually really effectively communicate what I was feeling, and it especially helped me come to terms with who I was.”
“That definitely was when I really understood who I am, and when I came to terms with it, and when I told most people.”
Head to marchforourlives.com to sign the petition or donate to help these incredible young people fight for their lives.