Earlier this week, a former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed 17 of his former classmates and teachers.
It was the 18th school shooting in the United States this year alone.
Now high school students from Florida are speaking out and taking action. They’ve made it clear they won’t be silenced and they won’t be ignored.
On Saturday, just days after the shooting, the students gathered for an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
They held up signs and spoke in real and raw terms about why the gun laws need to be changed immediately.
The most powerful speech came from high school senior, Emma Gonzalez, who promised this week’s shooting would be last mass shooting in America.
Gonzalez is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, she comforted her fellow classmates until the emergency services arrived on scene.
LISTEN: Why are US gun laws unchanging, despite massacre after massacre? We discuss, on Tell Me It’s Going To Be OK. Post continues after audio…
In her speech, Gonzalez called out President Donald Trump, the NRA, and legislators for not doing enough to protect America’s own children.
Here’s the transcript of Gonzalez’s full speech:
“We haven’t already had a moment of silence in the House of Representatives, so I would like to have another one. Thank you.
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. Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not.
We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.
I read something very powerful to me today. It was from the point of view of a teacher. And I quote: When adults tell me I have the right to own a gun, all I can hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student’s right to live. All I hear is mine, mine, mine, mine.
Instead of worrying about our AP Gov chapter 16 test, we have to be studying our notes to make sure that our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight. The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives. AP Gov had about three debates this year. Some discussions on the subject even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closets. The people involved right now, those who were there, those posting, those tweeting, those doing interviews and talking to people, are being listened to for what feels like the very first time on this topic that has come up over 1,000 times in the past four years alone.