Student and survivor of the Parkland school massacre has become one of the more recognizable faces of the #NeverAgain movement. Today, at the “March For Our Lives” rally she helped organize, Gonzalez stood silently on stage for 6 minutes and 20 seconds – the length of time the shooter stalked the halls of her school, murdering her classmates and teachers.
Gonzalez said, “Six minutes and about 20 seconds. In a little over 6 minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured and everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered.
Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing. No one understood the extent of what had happened…”
“..No one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day. No one knew that the people who were missing had stopped breathing long before any of us had even known that a code red had been called.”
She then repeated the names of each of the lives senselessly lost, listing the things they would never do again.
“Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron Feis would never call Kira, ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan. Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp. Helena Ramsey would never hang out after school with Max. Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch. Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never. Cara Loughran would never. Chris Hixon would never. Luke Hoyer would never. Martin Duque Anguiano would never. Peter Wang would never. Alyssa Alhadeff would never. Jamie Guttenberg would never. Meadow Pollack would never.”
Gonzalez then stared, silently, out into the crowd for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, with tears streaming down her face.
Along with her “I call BS” speech, this brave and memorable moment will undoubtedly be remembered as a pivotal moment in the history of the “Never Again” movement determined to wrest society from corrosive influences of greed, indifference and the NRA.
Watch the full speech below:
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