- Eighteen-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, gave a powerful speech during the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, DC on Saturday.
- Gonzalez is a survivor of a mass shooting at her high school in Parkland, Florida that claimed 17 lives last month.
- “No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach, or where this would go,” she said. “For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep.”
- Gonzalez’s speech lasted 6 minutes and 20 seconds – the same length of time as the shooting.
Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, took the audience by storm when she spoke at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, DC on Saturday.
Gonzalez was in class at her school on February 14 when a gunman opened fire, killing 14 students and three staff members.
After the shooting, Gonzalez and other student survivors of the massacre began working to contact politicians, enact legislative change, and organise a march that attracted thousands upon thousands in Washington. In addition to the main event, hundreds of other solidarity protests took place around the globe – and on every continent except Antarctica – as demonstrators called for common-sense gun reform.
Gonzalez began her speech on Saturday by recounting the shooting at her school.
“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 in the Douglas community was forever altered.”
She continued: “Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. No one understood the extent of what had happened. No one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day.
“No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach, or where this would go,” she added. “For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep.”
Gonzalez then named all the victims of the Parkland shooting, before pausing for several minutes. The silence was interrupted by shouts of support, as well as chants of “never again” from the audience.
Eventually, a timer went off, and Gonzalez said it had been 6 minutes and 20 seconds since she had walked out onto the stage, the same length of time the shooting lasted for.
“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,” the 18-year-old told protesters. “Fight for your lives before it’s somebody else’s job.”