Florida student Emma González has become the face of the teenagers-led #NeverAgain movement. A survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—which left 14 of her classmates and three staff members dead—González, a senior, and her peers have been actively rejecting the tired notion of “thoughts and prayers,” instead demanding gun reform and galvanizing forces and peers in the debate.
At a federal courthouse on Saturday, González, who has emerged as an inspiring symbol of strength and poise in the face of a harrowing national debate, created a new rally cry for the movement, quickly adopted by the crowd and onlookers around the world. “They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars—we call B.S.! They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred—we call B.S.! That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works—we call B.S.!” The words were her own, penned just hours before the protest. And since then, González and other students from Parkland have been riveting the nation, going on trips to meet lawmakers and speaking candidly about their disappointment with politicians. Just yesterday, the students traveled to Tallahassee to urge action on gun control, while last night saw a CNN town hall offering a space for the survivors to speak directly, and publicly, with Senator Marco Rubio and National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch. (The heated exchange between González and Loesch over whether it should be harder to obtain the semiautomatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic deserves its own post altogether.)
And yesterday morning, ahead of the day’s events, González shared a telling tweet. The 18-year-old took to Twitter with a video of her readying for the day with a fresh shearing of her buzz cut, singing along to the Beatles’s “Lovely Rita.” Along with the capture came the cutting caption: “When you got work to do but your hair’s gettin too long #StonemanStrong #BaldiesGetTheJobDone #MarchForOurLives.” González’s buzz cut was not a response to the Florida tragedy, but the share makes for a politicized statement as a voice of a new generation of gun control activists prepares for battle. With the March for Our Lives coming up on March 24, the country will be seeing more of González. And if this is what the future of America looks like, we’re all in.