Stop Everything and Listen to this Knockout March for Our Lives Speech by an 11-Year-Old Girl

Naomi Wadler powerfully honors the black girls killed by gun violence.

Naomi Wadler, 11, a student at George Mason Elementary School, speaks during the "March for Our Lives" rally.Andrew Harnik/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old girl from Alexandria, Virginia, thrilled hundreds of thousands when she spoke out for “the African-American girls who don’t make the front page of every national newspaper” at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

“I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington,” Wadler said. “I am here today to represent Hadiya Pendleton. I am here today to represent Taiyania Thompson, who at just 16 was shot dead in her home here in Washington, DC. I am here today to acknowledge the African-American girls who don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant beautiful girls full of potential.”

On March 14, Wadler led a walkout at George Mason Elementary School to honor the victims of gun violence that lasted 18 minutes— 17 to commemorate the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and an extra minute for Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old senior killed by gun violence earlier this month in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wadler spoke to loud cheers and was remarkably poised. “For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have been just numbers,” she said. “I’m here today to say never again for those girls, too.”

Many of the speakers at the march acknowledged the emerging political power of young activists, but Wadler put it best when she said: “We know that we have seven short years until we too have the right to vote.”

She ended by quoting Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must be the one to write it.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate