The most powerful moment in the ‘March For Our Lives’ rally on Saturday, to me, was the quietest. It happened right in the midst of a series of speakers addressing the hundreds of thousands of people who came to Washington, D.C.
No sound. Just silence.
They gathered to protest gun violence. At the podium was Emma Gonzalez. She’s become one of the faces of the gun control movement; a vocal survivor of the mass shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Seventeen people were killed in an attack that lasted about six minutes and 20 seconds.
Another senseless mass murder in the United States.
LISTEN: Gord Gillies shares his thoughts on the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.:
You’ve probably seen and heard Gonzalez. She has close-cropped hair. On Saturday, she was wearing ripped jeans full of holes and a green army jacket covered with patches and pins. The messages I could read called for making a difference.
Gonzalez spoke about the need for change.
“Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands,” she said.
She talked about her friend Carmen: a victim killed in the shooting, who would no longer complain about piano practice to her.
She talked about everyone who died on Feb. 14, and then she stopped.
For several minutes.
WATCH: Does the “March For Our Lives” movement have enough sway to reform gun laws in the U.S.
It was brilliant. A quiet pause in the middle of an event that was organized to send a message “loud and clear.”
A message that something needs to change to end gun violence in the United States. She stopped talking and the crowd didn’t know what to do. Some chants broke out, followed by applause and a few shouts. Then most people seemed to get it. It was time to reflect.
The debate rages on when it comes to discussing how to stop gun violence. The rhetoric is loud and often angry: divisive and bitter– from all sides.
But on Saturday, in a speech that was about six minutes and 20 seconds, a teenage girl got the crowd to listen.
A witness to the murderous attack on her friends at the school where she goes to learn, she vowed to make a difference so no more lives would be lost.
And she did it by turning down the volume.
There’s your future. For the first time in a while, I’m feeling hopeful.