Chin high and tears streaming, Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez stood silent in front of thousands gathered for the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, DC
She continued to stand silently as a few crowd members shouted out support. She remained silent as tentative chants broke out. Her silence continued as those attending also fell quiet, many weeping.
The gripping moment on Saturday stretched for six minutes and 20 seconds, the amount of time Gonzalez said it took a shooter to kill 17 people and wound 15 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.
You can watch part of her emotional speech below and the full speech here:
“Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands,” Gonzalez told the hushed crowed, describing the long hours spent waiting for authorities to identify their slain classmates, the horror of discovering many of them had breathed their last breaths before many students even knew a “code red” alert – designed to warn staffers and students of a potential threat – had been called.
“Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen (Schentrup) would never complain to me about piano practice,” she said, her voice strong but her throat momentarily catching. “Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan.”