March for Our Lives
When I wrote “Being in Silence” a few weeks ago, I could not have imagined that an eighteen-year-old girl would provide the world with such a powerful example of communicating without words.
At the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC yesterday, Emma Gonzalez, after calling out the names of her dead classmates, stood in silence. I’m not sure how I knew, but I immediately realized that she intended to be silent until 6 minutes and 20 seconds had passed, the time it took for 17 people to die at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. There was scattered applause and chanting. The marchers who were far away from the stage or a screen probably did not know what was happening. Others were simply uncomfortable with the silence. But for those of us who understood, nothing spoke louder.
I cannot recall in my lifetime an event like yesterday’s march. An event with only one message, end gun violence now, and only one group of speakers – children and teenage survivors. Sometimes they even acted like children. They giggled and took selfies with Ariana Grande. But more often they spoke with power and authority that belied their youth.
It will be a long, hard journey for these young people, and for us. But I have hope for a future they will lead.