Parkland Student Emma Gonzalez Opens Up About Her Fight for Gun Control- Harper's Bazaar
There has been a noted difference in the overall response to the latest mass school shooting that occurred in the U.S. last month. From students to senators to journalists...there is speculation that this time it will finally be the last. This time will actually lead to reform in gun laws in the U.S. and those reforms will finally lead to change. There is a palpable excitement towards the uprising from the next generation of high school students, whom are showing promise and focus and motivation. I count myself among the excited and expectant for what is in store with this generation. Emma Gonzalez has become a bit of the Che Guevara figure in this outspoken, unwilling to settle group. And her articulate words ought to be repeated across as many mediums as possible. Please read on for the letter she published for Harper's Bazaar just weeks after she experienced and escaped the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School...
Parkland Student Emma González Opens Up About Her Fight for Gun Control
"Adults are behaving like children."
By Emma González
Feb 26, 2018
Photos courtesy of Emma Gonzalez
My Name is Emma González. I’m 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual. I’m so indecisive that I can’t pick a favorite color, and I’m allergic to 12 things. I draw, paint, crochet, sew, embroider—anything productive I can do with my hands while watching Netflix.
But none of this matters anymore.
What matters is that the majority of American people have become complacent in a senseless injustice that occurs all around them. What matters is that most American politicians have become more easily swayed by money than by the people who voted them into office. What matters is that my friends are dead, along with hundreds upon hundreds of others all over the United States.
This started with, has been about, will always be for, all of us. And who are we? We are the people who died in the freshman building on Valentine’s Day at Douglas High, and the people who died in every mass shooting in U.S. history. We are everyone who has been shot at, grazed or pierced by bullets, terrorized by the presence of guns and gun violence in America. We are kids, we are parents, we are students, we are teachers. We are tired of practicing school shooter drills and feeling scared of something we should never have to think about. We are tired of being ignored. So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again. We are grieving, we are furious, and we are using our words fiercely and desperately because that’s the only thing standing between us and this happening again.
I have talked so much in the past few days that sometimes I feel like I might have used up all my words and I’ll never speak again. And then I hear someone say something really stupid and I can barely keep myself from snapping in two.
“If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven't, then you cannot possibly imagine it,” wrote Lemony Snicket in The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are people who do not know, and will never know, what it feels like to go through this. For that I am eternally thankful. But to the people out there who disagree with us: if you have ever felt what it's like to deal with all of this, you would know we aren’t doing this for attention. If these funerals were for your friends, you would know this grief is real, not paid for. We are children who are being expected to act like adults, while the adults are proving themselves to behave like children.
When did children become such a dirty word? Adults are saying that children are lazy, meanwhile Jaclyn Corin organized an entire trip to Tallahassee, three busses stuffed with 100 kids and reporters who went to discuss our pitiful firearm legislation with the people who can—but won’t—do something about it.
Adults are saying that children are emotional. I should hope so—some of our closest friends were taken before their time because of a senseless act of violence that should never have occurred. If we weren’t emotional, they would criticize us for that, as well. Adults are saying that children are disrespectful. But how can we respect people who don’t respect us? We have always been told that if we see something wrong, we need to speak up; but now that we are, all we're getting is disrespect from the people who made the rules in the first place. Adults like us when we have strong test scores, but they hate us when we have strong opinions.
I’m constantly torn between being thankful for the endless opportunities to share my voice, and wishing I were a tree so that I’d never have had to deal with this in the first place. I’d like to think that it would be nice to be a tree...
...Teachers do not need to be armed with guns to protect their classes, they need to be armed with a solid education in order to teach their classes. That’s the only thing that needs to be in their job description. People say metal detectors would help. Tell that to the kids who already have metal detectors at school and are still victims of gun violence. If you want to help arm the schools, arm them with school supplies, books, therapists, things they actually need and can make use of...