Emma González,

Thank you.

You are an icon and an idol.

You have done more in these last few months than most people accomplish in their lifetime. You are at the forefront of the change this nation so desperately needs. Without you, without your voice and your words and your courage, I do not know where we all would be.

I want to thank you and everyone who has stood up and refused to step down. I thank you for doing what nobody else would.

For advocating for the kids without voices. They are too young to rally and should have been too young to die.

For those too scared to leave home when the sounds of ricocheting bullets chase them into their dreams.

When did planning for an active shooter replace planning for Homecoming?

For those who were silenced well before their time should have been up. They won't graduate, won't go to college, won't start a family, won't see the world change.

But it is changing. Because of you. Thank you.

You are the face of the fight for all of our lives.

You started this, you lit the torch that has set this nation on fire and I thank you.

I never imagined that every time I left my hometown to drive back to university, I would be plagued by the thoughts: when will this town be next?

I am terrified that one of these days, I am going to see my town on the news. That I may never get to see my siblings or cousins or friends again. And as I fight back tears writing these words, I know this is the reality of so many families right now.

Enough is enough.

The schools of America are no place for guns. Assault rifles have no place in civilian hands, nevermind a child. Kids should be playing outside, not learning how to operate the new bullet-proof corner of their classroom.

You've awoken the beast in this country, the one that yearns for change, for justice, for the better life each and every person who steps foot on American soil strives to find.

Thank you, Emma, for fighting for your life, for the lives of everyone you know, and for the lives of this entire nation. Thank you for fighting through your own demons, overcoming the fears and doubts you have within yourself, and pushing aside those who try to tear you apart. You are so much better than them.

You are changing the world.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.