On February 14, 2018, a gunman walked into the Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and opened fire using an AR-15 rifle. The incident left 17 people dead, the majority of whom were students. The shooting was not an isolated mass shooting, the US witnesses an average of 45,000 shooting incidents every year with more than 11,000 deaths related to the use of firearms. The mass shooting at the school sparked the already controversial issue of gun control in the US after authorities revealed that the shooter was a 19-year-old former student of the school. The public was left enraged at how a 19-year old was in possession of a gun. Several anti-gun violence protests lobbying for gun control sprouted across the country. Among the activists is 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez.
Who Is Emma Gonzalez?
After the shooting incident at the school, Emma Gonzalez quickly rose to fame and became the American face of anti-gun violence. She delivered a heartfelt 11-minute speech during the anti-gun protest in Fort Lauderdale days after the shooting. In her speech, Gonzalez reiterated that her classmates and the community are will go down in history as the people engaged in the last mass shooting in America. Emma represented her community in several interviews and leads the social media campaigns against gun violence. She was born in Parkland, Florida, where she continues to live to date. She has two older siblings. Her mother is a mathematics tutor while her father is a cybersecurity attorney. At the time of the shooting, she was in her senior year at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and she’s expected to graduate with the class of 2018. On the day of the incident, she was among the several students who were in the auditorium when the shooter triggered the fire alarm. When the shooting began, she tried to exit the building using the hallway but turned back to the auditorium to take cover. Two hours later, the police escorted her and the others out of the hall. Emma has stated that she believes that a majority of people have become complacent over the injustices that occur in the society.
After her speech at Fort Lauderdale, she was applauded for the question she directed at the NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch concerning the organization’s stance on the sale of automatic rifles. She has more than one million followers on her social media sites which is double the followers of the NRA. She was applauded further when she told Dana Loesch that she was going to support her (Loesch’s) children in a way that she couldn’t. She created the March for Our Lives movement with the members of the Parkland community. The movement will rally across the country including holding a protest outside the White House. The Washington Post reports that the march is set to be attended by over half a million people. Others in support of the protests include Oprah Winfrey, and George and Amal Clooney. American fashion house Gucci donated $500,000 USD in support of the movement.