Emma Gonzalez: A young advocate born from tragedy
The tragic school shooting in Parkland, South Florida last February has once again stirred America’s soul and Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the tragedy, is taking a stand for greater gun control.
As a Latinx bisexual American, Gonzalez is speaking out as a representative of the many cultures that she is a part of, coupled with the identity of the Latino youth today.
Emma Gonzalez, survivor-turned-advocate
In an essay in Harper’s Bazaar, Gonzalez had identified herself this way: “I’m 18 years old, Cuban, and bisexual.”
While she can’t speak Spanish, she identifies herself as Cuban and is a member of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
She is the daughter of a Cuban immigrant who arrived in New York in 1968 is now a lawyer, and a definitive example of the Millennial generation into Netflix, being indecisive, and painting.
But last February 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 students while wounding 15 others, the 18th school shooting for 2018.
This event pushed Gonzalez into speaking out for better gun control and led her, as well as fellow students David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, into galvanizing the world to create change.
Emma Gonzalez: Going up against the adults
Gonzalez caught the public’s attention when she spoke out in a rally slamming politicians for their lack of action against gun violence and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for lobbying against gun control legislation.
During the rally, she listed the things needed for change and how these have been blocked, each time saying: “We call BS.”
She continued on making waves, from the CNN Town Hall when she took on adults like Republican Senator Dan Rubio of Florida and NRA lobbyist Dana Loesch.
“Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that you will not,” she called Loesch out.
“”The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. These people, who are funded by the NRA, are not going to be allowed to remain in office,” Gonzalez declared.
And because she didn’t have a Twitter account before the shooting, when she created one in order to send out her message, she immediately accrued more followers than the NRA.
Emma Gonzalez: Speaking words to power
Since then, Gonzalez has been speaking out for those who are voiceless, for the victims, and for the young who are told they cannot speak out.
“This started with, has been about, will always be for, all of us. And who are we? We are the people who died in the freshman building on Valentine’s Day at Douglas High, and the people who died in every mass shooting in US history,” she said in her essay in Harper’s Bazaar.
“We have always been told that if we see something wrong, we need to speak up; but now that we are, all we’re getting is disrespect from the people who made the rules in the first place,” she said.
“Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have strong opinions,” she added.
Check out the video of her speaking during the rally and be inspired by this young woman.