When this was first published Feb. 18, just days after the mass shooting, it was then clear that Emma Gonzalez would become a voice for the student movement seeking strict and lasting gun law changes. Gonzalez is one of the teenagers whose voices, actions and advocacy are behind the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. and indeed, around the globe.
Feb. 18, 2018
Emma Gonzalez survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day that took the lives of 17 students and educators. Despite the likely trauma and shock in the immediate aftermath, she and other students urgently began to speak up about the shooting describing the failure of political will by elected officials to enact rigid guns laws to protect people, school age kids especially, from mass shootings. A 17-year-old senior at the Parkland, Florida school, Gonzalez, who studied government in an AP class, has been an ardent voice of an emerging student movement calling for far stricter gun control laws and demanding politicians not kowtow to the NRA, as she said in her speech.
Here’s what you need to know about Emma Gonzalez:
1. Emma’s Speech Saturday Was Not Her First Since the Mass Shooting, But Was The Most Impassioned
On Saturday, Emma spoke at a rally in Ft. Lauderdale to urge government to act on gun control. “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because, just as David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting,” she said.
Previously, Emma and fellow students Alexis Michael and Isabel Robinson spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper just 24 hours after the mass shooting at her high school. Gonzalez said then, “…we’re the people who are going to make the laws one day and even if it seems small now …we need to put forward those baby steps…”
But it was her fiery and unreticent speech Saturday where she shamed politicians, including President Donald Trump, for taking millions in donations from the NRA that has brought her to the world stage.
2. Emma Was Featured in the ‘Humans of MSD’ Instagram Account & After The Shooting, Commenters Encouraged Her To ‘Fight’
At the time an innocuous and light-hearted post about her decision to shave off all her hair, with a clever pun in her first sentence, Emma was chosen as one of the Humans of MSD just a few weeks before the mass shooting at the school. The cheeky post though initially with lots of happy, fun-loving comments now includes calls for her to continue her advocacy and suggest a much larger movement is soon to emerge:
“A goddamn hero, keep fighting Emma.”
“They were born into a world reshaped by the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns. They talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers. With friends, they wondered darkly whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.”
“Now, this generation is almost grown up. And when a gunman killed 17 people this week at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., the first response of many of their classmates was not to grieve in silence, but to speak out. Their urgent voices — in television interviews, on social media, even from inside a locked school office as they hid from the gunman — are now rising.”
“Fight on rebel!”
“Florida kids are true agents of change. Way to make all of us proud both at home and out of state. Keep hope alive.”
Emma’s Instagram account is set to private.
3. Emma Was A Key Member Of A Student Science Club Meteorological Experiment
The story posted in December of 2017 about Project Aquila on the Stoneman Douglas school’s student news magazine ‘The Eagle Eye’, explained the Astronomy Club experiment consisted of launching a “weather balloon holding cameras and meteorological equipment in an effort to teach students the process of data collection in the upper atmosphere.” Gonzalez was “head of tracking and retrieval,” which meant her job was to lead the team in correctly setting up most of the non-film elements of the experiment, inputting all variables in the ship and balloon to predict its flight path along the jet stream before its landing: “It really depends on the day you check the flight pattern,” Gonzalez said. “It has nothing to do with skill and everything to do with the weather in Florida.”
4. Emma Is President of the MSD Gay Straight Alliance Club & Is Outspoken About LGBTQ Rights
According to the Eagle Eye, Emma is president of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Stoneman Douglas.In October of 2017, just four months ago, Emma told the student news magazine, in an article on anti-LGBT events in the Middle East, that the mission of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance is to promote equality and understanding: “We’re only a local, school based organization, but I think it’s important to promote awareness at all levels to make a better future for everyone. ..What’s happened in Egypt sucks and I want everyone to know that we stand with our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed there.”
5. Following Her Stirring Speech, Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson Praised Emma On Social Media
In a series of posts on Twitter, Stoneman Douglas High School principal Ty Thompson shared news media posts of Emma’s powerful remarks.
Thompson also commented on a post that praised Emma’s passion, intelligence and eloquence.
Here’s Emma’s appearance on CNN a week after the massacre when she demanded answers from the NRA’s Dana Loesch.