Naomi Wadler broke the internet with her compelling speech during the “March For Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C on Saturday. The 11-year-old told the thousands in attendance that she represented the untold stories of Black girls who were victims of gun violence.
Wadler, a fifth grader attending George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, organized a school walk-out calling for stricter gun laws following the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. She also wanted “to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper” such as 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington, a Black teen killed in a school shooting in Alabama on 7 March.
“These stories don’t play on the evening news,” the 11-year-old stated. “I represent the African American women who are the victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential. It is my privilege to be here today. I am indeed full of privilege. My voice has been heard. I am here to acknowledge their stories, to say they matter, to say their names because I can and I was asked to be.”
Wadler continued, “For far too long these names, these Black women, have just been numbers. I’m here to say, ‘Never again for those girls too… I’m here to say that everyone should value those girls too.”
The fifth-grader moved millions with her speech and was even applauded by “Thor Ragnarok” actress Tessa Thompson who tweeted, “Naomi Wadler is my president.”
Naomi Wadler is my President.
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) March 24, 2018
— Sho (@ShoStanback) March 24, 2018
— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) March 24, 2018
Young Ms. Naomi Wadler just rocked my world and thrilled the nation. Her eloquence and intelligence, her exquisite poise and dignity, and her insistence that little black girls not be left behind, was a searing call to justice for those who are often forgotten! A star is born!
— Michael Eric Dyson (@MichaelEDyson) March 24, 2018
Wadler concluded her speech to help “tell the stories that aren’t told.”
“Honor the girls, the women of color, who have been murdered at disproportionate rates in this nation. I need each of you to help me write the narrative in this world and understand so these girls and women are never forgotten,” she said.