Emma González has been an incomparable voice in the fight against gun violence. Her righteous anger is only matched by her ability to make us feel her deep grief. Despite facing homophobia and the gun lobby, she tirelessly organised around this issue and now has the attention of a nation. When she speaks, we listen, and she amplifies voices that cannot speak out. On Saturday, she spoke at the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. Her speech was chilling, and you will not be able to stop thinking about it after you see the video. We shouldn’t stop thinking about this issue. Lives are literally at stake, and her speech carried that weight.
“Six minutes and 20 seconds,” she began. That was how long it took for 17 of her classmates and teachers to be killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It only took six minutes because the shooter used an AR-15 assault rifle, a firearm created with the expressed purpose to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time. Gonzalez intoned the names of those who were laid to rest, her voice cracking with anguish. “My friend Carmen will never complain to me about piano practice,” she said. The names continued, until suddenly Gonzalez stopped speaking.
She sat in silence. Tears began streaming down her face, but she stood resolute. The crowd occasionally erupted with chants of “never again!” and applause; the camera showed us the faces of marchers who also cried during González’s silence. It was a painfully poignant moment, the likes of which we’ll remember in the years to come.
Finally, she began speaking again. “Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds,” she said. That’s all the time it took for 17 people to lose their lives. Gonzelez wrapped up her speech by pleading for all us to “fight for your life. Before it’s someone else’s job.” She walked off stage to thunderous cheers.
You can watch the video below.
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