Everything We Know About Emma Gonzalez, the Controversial Face of the Parkland Shooting
Emma Gonzalez’s seminal speech immediately following the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became the battle cry of a movement. Her passionate pleas, eloquently, yet emotionally delivered on several occasions has the country enwrapped with awe.
How can someone who is only 18-years-old connect with not only with her peers, but the global community? Who is Emma Gonzalez and what makes her tick? No. 5 shows she’s a badass.
1. Emma is an active high school student
A leader in her own right, Emma is president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Stoneman Douglas High School, CNN reports. She and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Gay-Straight Alliance also received the annual Voice for Equality award from LGBTQ group, Equality Florida, according to The Miami Herald.
Emma is also a member of the school’s science club where she worked on a meteorological experiment, according to Heavy. The school newspaper reported how she played a key role during a recent experiment.
Next: She had to convince her parents to let her do this 1 thing.
2. Emma had to convince her parents to let her shave her head
Emma’s signature buzz haircut is more of a comfort than a feminism thing. “People asked me, ‘Are you taking a feminist stand’? No, I wasn’t,” she told The Sun-Sentinel. “It’s Florida. Hair is just an extra sweater I’m forced to wear. I even made a Powerpoint presentation to convince my parents to let me shave my head, and it worked.”
Next: Her passions drove her to deliver this iconic speech.
3. Emma didn’t anticipate her first speech to spark a movement
Through her tears and emotions, Emma delivered the groundbreaking speech calling out lawmakers on their gun control stance. She called “B.S.” to how politicians have addressed gun control and mass shootings, which helped to launch an entire movement.
Emma’s words were immediately broadcast throughout the world, taking the high school senior off guard. She told The New York Times she was surprised how her words caught on. “I just got off the phone with Demi Lovato,” she told The New York Times. “That’s not normally something that ever should have happened.”
Next: Emma’s next big speech generated just as much enthusiasm.
4. She generated the ‘loudest silence’ for the movement
Several news outlets referred to her speech at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. as being the “loudest silence in the history of U.S. protest.” Emma stood on the stage completely silent, tears streaming down her cheeks for six minutes to represent how quickly it took the gunman to end 17 lives and wound others.
“Six minutes and about 20 seconds,” Mother Jones recounts from the beginning of Emma’s speech. “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us.”
Next: Emma’s resolve is strong.
5. She’s happy to take on the NRA
During CNN’s Town Hall Meeting, Emma fearlessly questioned the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch about what the organization would do to prevent another shooting. Since then she’s been attacked by politicians and NRA proponents, one even creating a fake image of Emma tearing up the U.S. Constitution, New York Magazine reports.
Emma called B.S. She penned an impassioned essay in Harper’s Bazaar about her resolve, ending the essay with, “We don’t need the NRA’s excuses, we need the NRA to finally stand up and use its power to supply the American people with something they deserve.”
“So march with us on March 24. Register to vote. Actually show up to the polls. Because we need to relieve the NRA of its talking points, once and for all.”
Next: She may be leading a movement but her parents still worry.
6. Emma’s parents support her but still worry
Like most parents, Emma’s mother worries about her child. “I’m terrified,” Beth Gonzalez told 60 Minutes. “It’s like she built herself a pair of wings out of balsa wood and duct tape and jumped off a building. And we’re just, like, running along beneath her with a net, which she doesn’t want or think that she needs.”
Beth said in the 60 Minutes interview she appreciates the outpouring of support but says adults need to step up too. “Somebody said– you know, ‘Please tell Emma we’re behind her,’ which I appreciate. But we should have been in front of her, I should’ve been in front of her. We’re all adults, we should have dealt with this 20 years ago.”
Next: What’s next for Emma?
7. She’s planning to attend college next year
While some of the Parkland high school senior activists are considering a gap year next year, Emma is still mulling over college choices, according to Forbes. Only a few days before the shooting, Emma toured New College of Florida and plans to attend the liberal arts honors college, “as of now,” People reports. Drew University also accepted her, according to Forbes.
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