WATCH: 11-Year-Old Naomi Wadler’s Powerful Speech At The March For Our Lives by the Forward

WATCH: 11-Year-Old Naomi Wadler’s Powerful Speech At The March For Our Lives

One of the most powerful speeches at the March for Our Lives gun control rally in Washington, D.C. was given by 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, who said she was there to represent other African-American women whose experiences with gun violence are often not covered by the media.

Wadler, who is African-American and Jewish, had organized a walkout at her elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia as part of a national protest on March 14. They stood outside for 18 minutes — one minute longer than the rest of the country — to honor Courtlin Arrington, a black girl from Alabama who had been killed in a school shooting in Alabama after the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida.

“I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls that fill a potential,” Wadler said.

She pointed out that gun violence disproportionate affects women and people of color.

“For far too long, these names, these black girls and women have been just numbers,” she added. “I’m here to say ‘Never Again!’ for those girls too. I’m here to say that everyone should value those girls, too.”

She dismissed the idea that she was being coached on what to say.

“My friends and I might be still be 11 and we might still be in elementary school, but we know life isn’t equal for everyone and we know what is right and wrong,” she said. “We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol, and we know that we have seven short years until we too have the right to vote.”

Wadler, a fifth-grader at George Mason Elementary School, had received pushback from her school’s administration because the adults felt that walking outside in the middle of the day was not safe.

“How we be will be safe in our own classrooms in the world we live in now when it’s okay for someone to walk into a store with an expired ID and buy an assault rifle?” Wadler responded at a local town hall.

In all, about 60 students joined Wadler’s walkout.

Wadler’s speech was one of the most memorable at the march. It was shared on Twitter by Sen. Kamala Harris and praised by prominent activists and journalists.

Contact Aiden Pink at or on Twitter, @aidenpink


Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward. Contact him at or on Twitter, @aidenpink .

Who Is Naomi Wadler, Speaker At March For Our Lives?

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

WATCH: 11-Year-Old Naomi Wadler’s Powerful Speech At The March For Our Lives

Thank you!

This article has been sent!