Six minutes and 20 seconds.
That’s about how long officials say it took the gunman to kill 17 students and wound more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month.
At the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Emma González, a student Stoneman Douglas who has become one of the most vocal and visible leaders of the so-called #NeverAgain movement, remained silent for most of her six-minute speech in honor of the victims of the massacre.
“In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us,” González said at the beginning of her speech. “Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands.”
“For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching in the afternoon sun were spent not knowing,” she continued. “No one could understand the extent of what had happened. No one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day.”
“For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep,” González said before listing the names of her slain friends.
“Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice,” she said. “Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine.’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan. Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp. Helena Ramsay would never hang out after school with Max. Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch. Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never, Cara Loughran would never, Chris Hixon would never, Luke Hoyer would never, Martin Duque Anguiano would never, Peter Wang would never, Alyssa Alhadeff would never, Jaime Guttenberg would never, Meadow Pollack would never.”
González then remained silent for most of those six-plus minutes, staring straight into the crowd with tears rolling down her face.
The crowd mostly remained silent, occasionally stopping to cheer González and chant, “Never again.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
- Scenes from March for Our Lives rallies around the world
- MLK’s granddaughter at D.C. march: ‘I have a dream that enough is enough’
- D.C. teens speak up on gun violence they see every day
- Students across U.S. stage national walkout month after Parkland massacre
- Parkland students: ‘We will not be silenced’ on guns