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School shooting survivors rally behind the #NeverAgain movement, spark new generation of activists

Majory Stoneman Douglas senio, Emma González delivers a monumental speech to protest gun violence in Ft. Lauderdale on Feb. 17.

Majory Stoneman Douglas senio, Emma González delivers a monumental speech to protest gun violence in Ft. Lauderdale on Feb. 17.

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On Feb. 14, the country was rattled by yet another mass murder, this time at  South Florida high school Marjory Stoneman Douglas. As the plague of this shooting epidemic continues to infect American society, something is drastically different about the aftermath this time. That difference can be attributed to the multiple MSD students and teachers speaking out against gun violence and protesting for new gun laws. New guns laws must be enacted with urgency. Our society cannot bare to lose more innocent people, nonetheless children.

What started off as a local movement has soon grown to encompass the country. This movement, given the name “#NeverAgain,”aims to gain support for the changing of this country’s guns laws. With celebrities and politicians joining the #NeverAgain movement, people are hopeful that change may be on the horizon.This potential change can be illustrated among the many protests and rallies that have taken place since the senseless tragedy occured. These teenagers, so deeply affected, realize that they have the ability to create change and motivate others to use their voice. In just three months of 2018, there have been over 17 school shootings, according to businessinsider.com. When facing the facts, it’s clear to see that change has never been needed more.

Three days after the shooting, an enormous rally took place in Ft. Lauderdale at the Federal District Courthouse on Feb. 17, and I was fortunate enough to attend. The propelling reason behind the rally was to speak out against this country’s gun laws and to work towards enacting new ones. This intended goal rang loud and clear throughout the rally. When I looked around, the crowd was diverse–men and women, young and old, all there for a common cause. With an array of posters, ranging from, “We don’t need thoughts and prayers! We need gun control,” to “Money killed my friends,” the relentless crowd proved they were there to make a point and fight for gun reform.

The most impactful parts of the rally were the speeches that ignited the crowd’s resolve. Both Supt. Robert Runcie and Rep. Ted Deutch spoke in support of the cause. Stoneman Douglas seniors David Hogg, Delaney Tarr and Emma González were among a group of young people to speak at the rally. With emotional and painful cries for change, there was not a dry eye in the audience. It was hard to hold back tears, knowing how many people suffered and are still suffering from this. These students retold their experiences of the tragedy while letting it be known that change must be created.

Emma González is a name most people will not forget for a very long time. González delivered a speech at the Ft. Lauderdale rally that is likely to go down in history. The energy, emotion and passion in the atmosphere as she spoke is like nothing I have ever experienced before.

“When adults tell me [they] have the right to own a gun, all I can hear is [their] right to own a gun outweighs your student’s right to live,” González said at the rally.

The most memorable and engaging portion of the speech is when González chanted “We call BS.” Multiple times, she led the crowd in chanting this out for the world to hear. This iconic speech attracted a tremendous amount of attention, collecting millions of views on YouTube and compelling celebrities such as Demi Lovato and Ellen Degeneres to reach out to the young and emerging activist.

As my parents, brother, cousin and I walked out of the rally, we were all in complete awe. What we witnessed was a defining moment in history, especially the speech given by González Gonzalez. I had witnessed a community come together and fight for change. All my life, I had always heard of activist movements, rallies and protests, but I never cared to pay much attention to these issues. Never had I pictured myself as the type of person to attend a protest, but I realized that when people with a common devotion to change unite their voices, change will become inevitable. In the future, I now plan on using my voice and fighting for what I believe in. These strong, resilient MSD survivors have showed me, and so many others, that the time to fight is now, and nothing will get in their way until the change that is so desperately needed prevails.

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