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 quoted Toni Morrison for inspiration: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Wadler mentioned Black victims of gun violence who did not make the lead story or front page like Courtlin Arrington, and Hadiya Pendelton.
Naomi Wadler is currently standing in the gap for all of the black girls and black women who are victims of gun violence. All the black girls and Black women who don’t get a hashtag and who don’t become front page news. Thank you Naomi. #MarchForOurLives
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) 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
Thank you to Naomi Wadler for your moment of remembrance of Courtlin Arrington at the March for Our Lives in Washington DC. #NeverAgain #MarchforOurLives
— Randall Woodfin (@WoodfinForBham) March 24, 2018