Yesterday at the March for Our Lives event in Washington, Emma Gonzalez‘s silence managed to say more than words could ever do. In a speech which lasted six minutes and twenty seconds (duration of Florida shooting), Gonzalez was silent for several minutes. As per a report in The Washington Post, Gonzalez said, “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us. Everybody who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands.” After she read out names of all the victims of the Parkland shooting, Gonzalez went silent.

For several minutes, the mic only echoed audience’s chants of “Never again!”, while Gonzalez stood in silence

About pain and defiance

We all empathise with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior’s silence on stage. Not only did she lose her mates in the shooting, she came face to face with the assailant that fateful day. It’s not easy for anyone, adult or a teenager to live with the fact that you survived while someone else didn’t. Perhaps that thought motivated most young survivors and activists like Gonzalez at the rally, to put their spared lives to fight gun violence.

But the Trump government’s non-commitment to gun control has also hurt them equally. The best solution Trump could come up with to curb gun violence in schools was to arm school teachers. They feel left in the lurch by the very people who are supposed to guide them. Add to that the hatred and resistance they have been facing from pro-gun section of the US society. A group of adults is publicly and virtually shaming children for demanding safe, gun-free study environment. They are using volume and aggression to back their illogical arguments.

Gonzalez’s silence is thus more powerful than all the speeches at the March for Our lives event. It puts forward a passive defiance of the “snowflake” generation to all the bullying they are facing for their stance

Not a spur of the moment agitation

It showcases that their activism isn’t a spur of the moment agitation which would dissipate in a short span of time. They have the temperament to peacefully carry on their protests for a cause of national importance. What most people do not realise, is that when words and actions fail to deliver across, it is the act of silence which echoes defiance and strength with more impact.

So, Gonzalez’s silence will go down in history as one of the most empowering speeches of all times. A simple act which roused the entire audience to chant in unison a pledge. Whether the world sees it as a strong resolve or just youthful resistance, those present there knew what these moments mean to them. They would greet those who are resorting to verbal abuse to protect their rights, with firm, passive silence, and a strong resolve to make sure that little children “Never Again” have to face gun violence in schools.

Photo Credit: Breitbart

Also Read: March For Our Lives Activist Naomi Wadler Delivers Powerful Speech

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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