Amazing Ladies in 2019: Activist Emma Gonzalez

There are a lot of amazing ladies out there paving the way for a better tomorrow. They inspire us, they give us hope, and they galvanize us to make changes of our own. This week we are highlighting some of the amazing ladies of our day. First up? Emma Gonzalez. 

Emma Gonzalez is a freshman in college. She's an activist. She's Cuban and a proud bisexual woman. And oh yeah, she's only 19. 

 

Image via Variety

 

Gonzalez was one of the survivors of the Parkland Shooting in February of 2018. A senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, she was in the auditorium and attempted to flee when the fire alarm sounded. Six minutes later, 17 students and teachers were dead and several more were injured. It was the deadliest high school mass shooting ever. The community was devastated, students were in shock, and the nation was horrified seeing yet another mass shooting. 

She decided it was time for something to change. Three days later, she took the stage at a gun control rally which quickly went viral. She refused to tiptoe around the issue, instead saying that "We call B.S." on the many excuses used to deny the need for more comprehensive gun control. Along with other Parkland survivors, she helped organize March for Our Lives, which on March 24 organized a demonstration of more than a million people, led by students, to protest stronger measures to control gun violence. At the demonstration, Gonzalez gave an impassioned speech, during which she gave the names of all 17 victims and paused to give a moment of silence. Only there was something different about this moment of silence-- it lasted for six minutes and 20 seconds, which was the duration of the shooting. 

Image via Mother Jones

 

It was one of the longest moments of silence at a public protest in history. Cameras caught the tears streaming down her face and her image again went viral. She was called the face of #NeverAgain. But she didn't stop there. Her activism was instrumental in changing gun laws in Florida. In an act named after the high school, the age of legality for owning guns was raised to 21, established waiting periods and background checks, banned bump stocks that make it easier to fire rapidly in a semi-automatic rifle, and measures that bar potentially violent people from obtaining guns. Rick Scott, the state's governor, stated  "To the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you made your voices heard. You didn't let up and you fought until there was change." 

Gonzalez faced many personal attacks in result of her activism, with people criticizing every aspect of her appearance, the way she dressed, her race and her sexuality. The attacks came not only from Internet trolls, but also Senators and Congressmen. A picture of her tearing up a shooting range target was doctored to appear as if she was ripping apart the Constitution, and there was a firestorm against her. 

Image via People

 

"Women have the power to do anything men can do, just as black people have the power to do anything Hispanic people can do, and gay people have the power do anything that straight people can do, and trans people have the power to do anything that cis people can do. This country’s government was made to work slowly, but if we elect the right people and keep moving as fast as we have been, we will change our world for the better," Gonzalez said in an interview with Variety

 

Now a college student, she still hasn't stopped her activism. She's still outspoken about gun control on her Twitter, @Emma4Change, especially as we only just passed the anniversary of March for Our Lives. She reminds her followers that even with the strides we have made, we still have a long way to go. It's hard enough to be a freshman in college, but she also does it while leading 1.66 million Twitter followers and constantly fighting for change. Pretty amazing? We think so.