Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and survivor, Emma Gonzalez, has become a global face in the fight for stricter gun laws ever since her “BS” speech days after the killing of 17 of her colleagues and students. On Saturday, March 24th, in Washington, D.C., Emma was received like a rock star, but did you know that this young activist roots also run to the Caribbean? It sure does.
Dad born in Cuba
The 18-year-old’s dad, Jose, was born in the Caribbean island of Cuba and arrived in the US via New York in 1968. He is now an attorney for a cybersecurity company. Her mother works as a math tutor.
Gonzalez, who has become the face of the “Never Again” movement, is the youngest of three children and has lived in Parkland, Fla., her entire life. She identifies as bisexual and is the president of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Gonzalez is unwavering in her embrace of her identity.
While Univision reported that she does not speak Spanish, she doesn’t shy away from her Cuban identity. “I’m 18 years old, Cuban, and bisexual,” she says in the lead paragraph of her recent essay published in Harper’s Bazaar.
More Twitter followers than the NRA
González, who now has more followers on Twitter than the NRA at 1.3 million, on Saturday, again had a powerful moment at the national March for Our Lives rally in D.C. Saturday.
She spoke for just under two minutes on Saturday before tens of thousands of demonstrators, reciting the names of classmates who had been killed, including Caribbean roots victim, Helena Ramsay and Venezuela-born Joaquin Oliver. Then she said nothing for four minutes and 26 seconds.
Period of silence
She stared straight ahead during her period of silence onstage, her sometimes watery eyes fixed in the distance. Then a timer went off. “Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds,” she said. “The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest.”
And like many Caribbean activists before her, including Jose Marti and Malcolm X, she finished with the push: “Fight for your lives, before it’s someone else’s job.