I just watched on my computer a video of the speech delivered by Emma Gonzalez at the Washington march organized to work for gun regulation. Gonzalez is one of the students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who were trapped during the brief, deadly shootings there. Her speech is the most chilling, powerful, oratorically courageous performance I have ever seen. You can view it here.
For those who do not understand what she was doing, Ms. Gonzalez called the names of all of her classmates who died in that terrible event, and then stood stock still, absolutely silent, for the six minutes and twenty seconds it took from the first shot was fired until the last. Six minutes and twenty seconds in front of a vast audience is an eternity. The members of the audience, puzzled by the silence, strike up chants and call out support, but she does not budge, and little by little the efforts by the audience die away. Finally, when the time of the shootings has elapsed, she speaks again and explains what she has done. This, she is saying by her silence, is how long it took for all of the fellow students whose names I have called to die.
I have seen videos or films of many great speeches, but none was as powerful as those six minutes and twenty seconds of silence.