#ShesGotVERVE - Why We Love Emma Gonzalez
In the wake of yet another senseless school shooting which claimed 17 lives at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Emma Gonzalez has emerged as the inspirational voice of anti-gun advocacy for young people in America. The highschool senior went viral following her 11 minute speech at an anti-gun rally in which she pledged, along with her peers, to pressure lawmakers to repeal the Second Amendment, a law which gives Americans the right to “bear arms”. Emma has gone on to publicly challenge legislators, Trump, and the National Rifle Association (NRA). She has become an activist, an advocate and an emblem of the power that young voices can exert in the fight for change. This is why we love Emma Gonzalez!
She’s Spearheading a Mass Movement
Just four days after the shooting, Emma Gonzalez, along with her schoolmates, used an anti-gun rally as a platform to express their indignation, grief and anger that yet another preventable mass shooting took away so many young lives. On that dreaded day, Stoneman Douglas High school became Las Vegas, Orlando, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Sutherland Springs Church. That day, the high school was added to the rapidly expanding list of deadly mass shootings in U.S history. And on that day, the students of Stoneman Douglas High School vowed that they will be the last mass shooting ever.
Not only did Emma’s speech go viral, but she used her initiative to maintain the momentum of the mass movement, amassing over 1 million followers on Twitter (@Emma4Change). She is currently involved in supporting the March for Our Lives on March 24 2018 and has championed the #NeverAgain movement created by fellow student Cameron Kasky. She has given countless interviews to the media, faced legislators and representatives from the NRA and rallied together other teenagers to protest the injustice of gun laws in the U.S.
She Has Become a Teenage Icon
In a world where popular culture revolves around beauty trends, fashion icons, and memes, it’s refreshing to see young women like Emma Gonzalez emerging as an icon for teenagers around the U.S. Emma’s unfiltered passion and dedication has landed her interviews and features in the media and publications such as Teen Vogue and Glamour magazine, to name a few. She’s dismantling the stereotype that teenagers in the U.S are complacent, politically unaware and self-absorbed and taking on the ‘adult’ world, which has failed to make the changes that she, along with her peers, are fighting for. She’s putting teenagers on a pedestal, showing how they can come together to destroy the status quo, fight for injustice and actually make a change. Essentially, she is being more proactive than the ‘adults’ in positions of power that have failed her and her peers. And they’re doing all this while having to grieve and overcome an unimaginable trauma.
She’s Unapologetically Fierce
Armed with her fearless voice and indignation, Emma Gonzalez has shown a quality that most politicians lack: unapologetic ferocity and true passion for her cause. Her speech was direct and straight to the point. She doesn’t waffle or try to skirt around certain issues, instead, she uses facts, figures, and anecdotes to create a clear picture and objective. She confronts the victim-blaming rhetoric that emerged following the shooting, calls out the President, the NRA and the complacency of people that possess the power to make changes. She defies those who have tried to undermine her and her peers by saying they are too young to understand. Her showdown with NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at the CNN town hall showed that she doesn’t take any crap. She validates the teenage voice, she gives a damn, and she won’t be silenced until a change has been made.
And she’s only getting started. According to an interview with People, Emma’s current priority is the midterm elections and making sure that the right people are elected into office who will make a real difference. Then there’s the March for Our Lives which has already raised over $2 million in donations. Long term goal? Take action to end mass shootings, repeal the Second Amendment and make America a country where teenagers don’t have to fear for their lives every time they step into their school building. Emma Gonzalez is an unapologetic advocate, powerful icon and young woman who, with her army of fellow teenagers, is taking on the nonsensical patriarchal system that values money over individual lives.
You can read the full transcript of Emma’s speech here.
How can you get involved?
Don’t stop talking about it. Tweet. Facebook. Instagram. #NeverAgain.
Article by Chanju Mwanza