Student survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have made their voices heard in the weeks since the Feb. 14 tragedy.
The outspoken Parkland students—Emma Gonzalez, Delaney Tar, Sam Zeif, Cameron Kasky, and Jaclyn Corin among them—have organized the March for Our Lives on March 24, a protest aiming to highlight the urgency of gun control in America.
March for Our Lives, which centers on Washington, D.C. but has inspired hundreds of sister marches across the globe, has brought thousands to the streets, including many of the Parkland survivors.
In an impassioned speech during the rally, Emma Gonzalez shook the crowd with her words, which lasted exactly 6 minutes and 23 seconds, the length of the terrorizing Parkland shooting.
"Six minutes and about twenty seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone, was forever altered," she began her message. "Everyone who was there understands, everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands."
"No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this reach or where this could go. 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," she continued.
Listing the teachers and students who died that tragic day, Gonzalez said, "Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron Feis would never call Kira, 'Miss Sunshine.' Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan. Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp. Helena Ramsey would never hang out after school with Max."
"Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch. Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never. Cara Loughran would never. Chris Hixon would never. Luke Hoyer would never. Martin Duque Anguiano would never. Peter Wang would never. Alyssa Alhadeffwould never. Jamie Guttenberg would never. Meadow Pollack would never."
Visibly upset, with tears streaming down her face, the high school senior broke her silence. "Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and twenty seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your life before it’s somebody else’s job."
We applaud your bravery and eloquence, Emma.