By: Christina Burgess
Not many adults can go through a traumatic event in their life and bounce back from it; Let alone many kids in the world.
These young women were all directly affected in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting that took place on February 14th in Parkland, Florida. In a time of darkness, these women Proved themselves to be beacons of light. These young school-aged teens ranging from age 15 to 19 years old all made it their mission to use their voice through rallies, marches, hashtags and movements worldwide.
They took platforms and spoke out both on Twitter and on national television; they participated in everything from small town rallies to televised (on CNN) town hall meetings. All of these women are making it their mission to advocate for gun control so that what happened to them, can never happen to anyone else. They don’t want anyone to have to go through the loss, heartbreak and trauma that they’ve dealt with. They believe that change is what this nation needs and we will get it one way or another.
Emma Gonzalez, 19
Emma Gonzalez is a high school senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She helped co-found the gun control group, Never Again MSD. Gonzalez first reached national news when she made a compelling speech at a local rally against gun violence. On February 17th, three days after the shooting, Emma gave an 11 minute speech at a gun control rally in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida outside of the Broward County courthouse. Gonzalez tells those advocating for guns that, “We call BS!”
She also led chants in the rally at Ft. Lauderdale, chanting “shame on you!” After calling out every politician; including the President that supports the NRA, “If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy, and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association. But hey, you want to know something? It doesn’t matter, because I already know: $30 million. … To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!”
The brave teen continues to take on not only the President of the United States but also the NRA and politicians who have been refusing to listen to the cries of help and push for change by the students. On February 22nd, CNN hosted a Town Hall for Parkland survivors and families to speak out. This was another event where Emma Gonzalez spoke out going head-to-head with NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch. During the questioning, Loesch continued to not directly answer Gonzalez’s question. Instead she decided to talk about the shooter Nikolas Crus saying, “crazy people do crazy things.”
Sarah Chadwick, 16
Sarah is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who takes social media activism to a whole other level. This girl is passionate about what she tweets- and tweets it with a purpose. Chadwick is also a part of the Never Again MSD movement and has made sure that her voice is heard online.
With boldness, she tweets about Gov. Marco Rubio saying things like, “we should change the names of AR-15s to “Marco Rubio” since they are so easy to buy.”
This tweet came after the Town Hall on CNN, where Rubio was asked countless times if he would stop receiving donations from the NRA. Rubio never fully answered the question.
She also had a rebuttal video for NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch; where Loesch was featured holding an hourglass saying how media and Hollywood’s time is running out. Chadwick then responded to that video saying, “to every spokeswoman with an hourglass who uses free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents….Your time is running out. The clock starts now.” Then Sara turned over her hourglass similar to how Loesch did. Chadwick is fearless on social media and says what she believes.
Delaney Tarr, 17
Tarr is a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas who had a Youtube video go viral of her explaining that we must demand gun control in this country. Tarr got her message through with words of power and conviction. Delaney said, “We’ve had enough of thoughts and prayers. We’ve had enough of ‘We’re in your consideration.’ ‘We’re going to think about it.’ ‘We’re going to tell you how we feel because we support you so much.’ Because we know that that is not true. If you supported us, you would have made a change long ago and you would be making a change now. So this is to every lawmaker out there. No longer can you take money from the NRA. No longer can you fly under the radar doing whatever it is that you want to do. Because we are coming after you. We are coming after every single one of you and demanding that you take action.”
Her message is strong: Get yourself together or we’ll get you together. Tarr is a heroic leader, because she speaks up for what she believes and says what others are afraid to say.
These girls are just a few that I’ve had the chance to name. But trust me there are many many more; male and female teenage students speaking out around the world demanding change. We are the future and we are the ones that also plan on changing it. Let these women be a push for us to understand that we can use the platform that all of us have; social media. We use it daily without realizing how much of an impact it can make on everyone. We cannot wait until something personally effects us to demand change, start now!
Rest in Peace to the precious lives of Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsey, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. #NeverAgain #Enough