On Saturday, the 24th, a historic march happened in Washington D.C. and in cities all over the country. Early estimates from researchers tallied the count around at least 1.2 million people. Almost $3.5 million dollars was donated to the online fundraiser by more than 42,000 people. There have been many history-making events that have taken place since February 14, the day that 17 students and teachers were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many of those moments have been led by high school senior Emma Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, on stage during March for Our Lives, stood silent for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the length of time students crouched in classrooms while a murderer went on a shooting spree. One analyst called it the “loudest silence in the history of US social protest.” Gonzalez, 18, told Teen Vogue that “this is only the beginning.” Gonzalez did what most adults haven’t done — politicians especially — in laying out clear-cut changes that need to happen ASAP in U.S. gun law policy.
“We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system,” she wrote for Teen Vogue.”It would also benefit us to redefine what assault weapons are so that when we call for a ban against them, it’s clear that we aren’t trying to ban all guns.”
It was just four days after the shooting when Gonzalez was standing on boxes to reach a microphone, delivering an impassioned speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She called BS on the “politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA.” At the CNN Town Hall on the future of gun control, she spoke fearlessly to NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch. “I want you to know we will support your two children in a way that you will not,” Gonzalez said.
And there’s more to come from Gonzalez, the students of Parkland, and student-activists all across the United States. They’re calling for a national walkout on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. The #NeverAgain movement is also focusing its energy on the November midterms. “In just a few weeks’ time, we, the youth of the United States, have built a new movement to denounce gun violence and call for safety in all of our communities. And this is only the beginning,” Gonzalez said.