Only two weeks ago 18-year-old Emma González was leading the life of a typical high school student.
Yet on Valentine’s Day, a gunman entered her high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida and killed 17 people with a legally purchased rifle.
Two days after the horrific attack, Emma spoke out about gun control and violence in an incredibly powerful and moving 11-minute-speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
You can watch her emotive speech below:
Since footage of her went viral, Emma has become one of America’s most prominent activists calling for stricter gun control laws.
Emma, at time of writing, has an amazing 730,000 followers on the social media platform while the NRA has 565,000.
This is a perfect example of the power of people and social media!
This is a movement.
This is the future.
Change is now. pic.twitter.com/8yHSpq9Zac
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) February 24, 2018
Emma, along with several of her peers, is spearheading the debate over gun control which America is once again divided over.
Capturing the world’s attention with her speech, including celebrities such as Laverne Cox and Zendaya, Emma made a Twitter account to promote her cause.
Her account was verrified pretty much straight away and it’s no surprise she’s attracted a wave of support from both Americans and the rest of the world.
A kid calling for sensible gun reform has outnumbered the entire NRA—in just 10 days.
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) February 24, 2018
Alongside her peers, Emma has formed the ‘March for Our Lives’ movement which will see thousands of people take part in a planned demonstration on March 24.
The group of students behind the movement are encouraging others to take to the streets and demand politicians listen to them now to prevent any further tragedies.
Lady Gaga, George Clooney and Justin Bieber are a few of the celebrities who’ve shown support for the demonstration.
You can watch Emma and fellow organisers Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin talk to Ellen DeGeneres about the movement:
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Not only does Emma want politicians to listen to the calls for stricter gun control laws, she also wants to see the NRA lose its vast influence and hopefully be toppled altogether.
Since the attack, the NRA – which represents gun owners in the US – has lost the support of several companies such as Hertz, Delta and the First National Bank all of whom have pulled out of promotional contracts with the organisation.
The association put the blame for the attack on failures of both the police and high school, which lead to the hashtag #BoycottNRA trending online.
UPDATED LIST: #BoycottNRA
20 brands have dropped the @NRA.
The following brands have NOT:
The power of the PEOPLE is greater than the power of the NRA. #NeverAgain
— Ryan Knight #BoycottNRA (@ProudResister) February 24, 2018
The NRA is widely condemned for its lobbying of gun rights in America – spending an estimated $3 million a year on influencing gun policy.
The Valentine’s Day massacre is the eighth deadliest mass shooting in contemporary US history and the eighteenth to take place within the confines of a school in 2018.
That’s an astonishing 18 in 44 days. It’s the eighth school shooting to have resulted in death or injury in those seven weeks.
There were 345 mass shootings in America in 2017 alone.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.