Who is Emma Gonzalez, the Parkland student fighting for gun control?
Survivors of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have been making waves by calling for gun control reform. And one of the most vocal activists is Emma Gonzalez, who has attracted media attention for giving a rousing speech about gun control.
But who is Gonzalez?
During a February 17th protest in Fort Lauderdale, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior condemned lawmakers’ inaction and called instead for victims to bring about gun control reform. The teen has also used her Twitter account to push for gun reform since the shooting (her Instagram is private, though). And during CNN’s town hall meeting to discuss gun control on February 21st, she grilled NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch about whether she supported banning semiautomatic rifles and attachments for them like bump stocks. The student’s exchange with Loesch even caught Michelle Obama’s eye, leading to an epic Twitter conversation.
But unfortunately, Gonzalez’s activism has led some conspiracy theorists to falsely accuse her of being a “crisis actor” who is paid to speak out against guns. An aide to Florida State Representative Shawn Harrison emailed the Tampa Bay Times on February 20th, claiming that Gonzalez and another student, David Hogg, were crisis actors. But the teen is taking the conspiracy theories in stride.
"It's actually really funny to us," she told BuzzFeed News, "last night we kept showing pictures to each other of the actors we're supposed to be and could not stop laughing — it was nice, we haven't had such a good laugh in what feels like years."
Gonzalez’s activism isn’t limited to gun control. She told the Washington Post that she supports the Sierra Club and is the president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. And aside from her activism, she is known for sporting a buzz cut and sewing many of her own clothes.
In an interview with a school Instagram account, Humans of MSD, which is styled after “Humans of New York,” Gonzalez recounted the origins of her signature shaved head, saying that keeping her hair short was more practical and more her.
Gonzalez’s commitment to change, even in the face of tragedy, is genuinely admirable. We hope that she and all Parkland survivors will continue to stand up for what they believe in.