Stoneman Douglas Activist Emma González Honored At Equality Florida Gala

"These young leaders have stirred the nation," says Equality Florida director Nadine Smith.

Emma González, a student at Stoneman Douglas and a rising voice against gun violence, was honored at a Equality Florida benefit this weekend, along with other members of her school’s Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA).

González, who identifies as bisexual, is the president of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s GSA. She and her fellow youth activists received Equality Florida’s Voice For Equality award at a ceremony Saturday at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach.

After she took the podium, 18-year-old González asked for a moment of silence to honor the lives lost at Stoneman Douglas and at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.

“[Our school] lost 14 classmates, three faculty members, and there were plenty of individuals who were injured and are still in the hospital due the havoc wreaked on Valentine’s Day in a period of six minutes,” she said. “It’s important that we remember these individuals when we fight for gun safety and gun control, as well as all other individuals affected by gun violence in America.”

She thanked Equality Florida for recognizing advocates from Stoneman Douglas, some of whom, like classmate David Hogg, were in attendance.

“Many of the members of our GSA this year have, for the first time, found a place where they can be themselves freely, can experiment with names and labels, and [learn] about a culture that is widely ignored in textbooks and curriculum.”

Equality Florida

Equality Florida director Nadine Smith (above left) praised Stoneman Douglas students for “[speaking] through their grief with absolute clarity and resolve.”

“They have stirred the nation,” Smith told NewNowNext. “In a matter of weeks, they’ve taken on the NRA… and recognized that the platform they have is meant to be shared with others whose voices haven’t been heard.”

Smith says she’s not surprised that a leader like González emerged from a high-school GSA.

“When you must find your voice in a place that demands your silence and invisibility, you learn to be bold and find a way to be heard.”


Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.