Celebrating Women – Emma González, the girl who challenged the government

Britney Amankwah, Senior Editor

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating Emma González, a young woman who survived a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and decided to become an advocate for gun control. 

Emma González was born on November 11, 1999, and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Florida. On February 14, 2018, as a high school senior, she experienced a traumatic school shooting. A former student entered the high school with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 people and injuring another 17. 

On what seemed like a normal school day, González was in the auditorium when the fire alarm went off and SWAT teams and authorities swarmed the school building announcing a code red. Emma González and her classmates were rushed back into the auditorium, where they hid on the floor between the folding seats. As she and her friends held hands, González focused on keeping those around her calm while others searched the internet for any news that could explain what was unfolding on their campus.

 It wasn’t until days later that she would learn the full extent of the tragedy. She read a story in the Miami Herald and saw the names of all the students and faculty members who had died.

In her We Call BS speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, González vowed to change laws.

“We are going to be the kids that you read about in textbooks, not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shootings in America, but because, as Justice David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting, ” said Emma González in a speech. 

On February 15, 2018, González and a few of her peers who also survived the traumatic event founded Never Again MSD, a student-led committee that advocates for stricter regulations on gun laws to prevent gun violence, especially in schools. 

According to Neveragain.com, they are leading the fight to protect children from future mass shootings in schools and rally to the cry, “NEVER AGAIN!”

Due to González’s activism, Congress has set aside 1 billion dollars to increase funding for school security and many states have changed the minimum age to purchase a firearm from age 18 to 21. 

González also organized the March For Our Lives, a demonstration in support of gun control legislation, that took place in Washington, DC. The demonstration had a large celebrity turnout, including Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, George Clooney, who donated half a million dollars to the event, and so many more prominent figures. 

The March For Our Lives was the largest single-day protest led by students in United States history. The mission statement is to “harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives.” 

Inspired by the Freedom Riders, Emma González and thousands of other students went around the country registering voters, meeting with survivors of gun violence, and community leaders. The young activists are demanding bold action to end the gun violence epidemic.  

At such a young age, Emma González has changed the country and the impacts of her bravery will continue for years to come. More young people are speaking out against senseless acts of gun violence, using their voices to demand reform, and safer gun laws have been passed all around the country.