In just a couple of short weeks, a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is using the power of social media to advocate for change. And she’s got more listeners than the National Rifle Association.
Emma Gonzlez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, surpassed the NRA’s number of Twitter followers in less than one month of creating her account. As of Thursday morning she has 1.15 million followers. The NRA, which joined Twitter nearly a decade ago, has just 604,000.
Gonzlez sent her first tweet on Feb. 18, and it was a call to action.
Emma Gonzlez (@Emma4Change) February 18, 2018
Gonzlez, 18, also has more followers than Dana Loesch, the NRA’s controversial spokeswoman. Loesch has 794,000 followers and has been on Twitter since July 2007.
In an op-ed for Harper’s Bazaar Gonzlez states she is Cuban and bisexual. She enjoys drawing, painting, crocheting, sewing and embroidery. She is president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, according to Pink News. After graduation she plans to go to college, and she hopes to attend New College of Florida, according to People.
Other survivors are leveraging social media, too. Fellow senior David Hogg has close to 400,000 followers, Cameron Kasky, has 257,000 and Sarah Chadwick has 251,000. The students have utilized the hashtag #NeverAgain.
A March For Our Lives rally is scheduled for March 24 in Washington, D.C., and appears to be gaining national attention. Jimmy Fallon acknowledged the students-turned-advocates on his first show after the shooting.
“They’re speaking out with more guts, passion, conviction and common sense than most adults. They’re high school students. It’s beyond impressive. That strength they have, it’s inspiring,” he said.
“It’s a real revolution,” Fallon added.
He also announced that he, his wife and his children would be attending the March For Our Lives rally in D.C.
Gonzlez made a powerful speech just days after the shooting that took the lives of 17 members of her high school’s community. She called out politicians who receive funding from the NRA, including President Donald Trump.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher [gun] laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group, the NRA spent $11,438,118 for Trump during the election and $19,756,081 sgainst Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival. That’s a total of over $31 million.
The FBI is also currently investigating whether or not Russia gave money to the NRA to support Trump’s campaign. There is speculation that the money came from Alexander Torshin, a top Russian banker and a lifelong NRA member.
According to a McClatchy report, a connection between Torshin, the NRA and Trump cannot yet be confirmed but, “the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent byan arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.”