Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez, who took shelter in an auditorium while 19–year–old Nikolas Cruz gunned down her classmates, friends, and colleagues, has a message for President Donald Trump and the nation’s lawmakers: Stop accepting money from the National Rifle Association and do something to stop gun violence or we will kick you out of office.
Gonzalez delivered an emotionally charged and poignant speech at a rally against gun violence in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Saturday, following the massacre at her school in Parkland on Wednesday, in which 17 students and staff members were shot to death and several others were injured.
“Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see,” Gonzalez said as she fought back tears, CNN reported.
“The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives,” she added.
Gonzalez also made a promise: If the adults aren’t going to take action to protect their children, the students will.
We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because, just as David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law. That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it’s going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD, the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.
She also called out President Trump, who blamed students for somehow not preventing the attack, and noted that the president had accepted $30 million in campaign funds from the NRA.
And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the student’s fault, the fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn’t take them away from him when they knew he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I’m talking about the people he lived with. I’m talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
To other politicians who have accepted NRA money, Gonzalez said, “Shame on you,” a line that those gathered at the rally quickly began chanting.
In another memorable moment, she said, “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS.”
Gonzalez’s speech quickly went viral on social media on Saturday as once again, a courageous student refused to let the gun control debate be tamped down by meaningless “thoughts and prayers” from those who are complicit.