We knew Emma Gonzalez was amazing. But at the March for Our Lives rally, the teenager rewrote the script on powerful activism.
At the start of her powerful, gut-wrenching speech on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C., Gonzalez stood in front of the massive crowd, tears streaming down her face, absolutely silent for 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The reason?
That’s how long it took a 19-year-old gunman to go on a killing spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 students and staff.
“In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely every one in the Douglas community was forever altered,” Gonzalez explained.
WATCH: Emma Gonzalez names the murdered Parkland victims and observes several minutes of silence in a 6-minute, 20-second speech that covered the same time it took the gunman to kill 17 people in her high school:
“Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.” pic.twitter.com/OrTfuTdSNn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 24, 2018
She went on to discuss the pain of going through such a traumatic experience.
“For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing,” Gonzalez said. “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 knew that the people who had gone missing had stopped breathing long before any of us had even known that a code red had been called. No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach or where this would go.”
And then, just in case those listening hadn’t gotten her point yet, Gonzalez stated, “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 continued her speech by talking about the everyday things her fallen classmates would never be able to do, such as calling their friends, playing basketball, or walking to school with a sibling.
She wrapped up with a devastating description of the shooter’s actions and a call to action for the audience.
“Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job,” she asserted.
Let’s fight alongside her and others to make change happen, too.
Read more on the March for Our Lives with stories on D.C. student Zion Kelly’s speech on losing his twin to gun violence, outstanding protest signs, photos from around the country, and moving words from little kids.
And if you want to support the anti-gun-violence movement, we have a quiz for the best way you can help.