Questions To Consider

  • How is a youth-led protest or movement different from one led by adults?
  • What emotion does her speech leave you with?
  • What can each of us do to continue uplifting the stories that are not always told in the media, like those of #SayHerName and #BlackGirlMagic?

What We Think

Eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler was the youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives rally, and she lit up the stage with the very first word she uttered: A simple “hi” followed by heartfelt laughter that only a child could deliver.

As students around the country were planning walkouts, Naomi organizing was organizing her own, with the help of a fellow elementary school student. Rather than walking out for 17 minutes, they added an extra minute of silence to honor Courtlin Arrington, a black student who fell victim to a school shooting in Alabama, only days after the massive shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Courtlin’s name never made it to the front page of a newspaper, though.

And Naomi had some powerful words in response. She spoke the names of black women, whose names have been forgotten and whose stories don’t get told, urging us to say their names and to remember that they matter too.  

She knows what some naysayers think about her: “People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own. People have said that I’m a tool of some nameless adult.” But she knows what she knows. She knows that life isn’t equal for everyone, that some things are just wrong, and that she’s only seven short years away from her own right to vote. This young political activist with a quick smile (check out her interview with Ellen!) is challenging all of us to step it up and join her in creating a world in which black girls like her aren’t left behind.

In a few minutes, she moved thousands of people to tears and to cheers, giving a voice to many black women and women of color who are disproportionately impacted by violence, and yet forgotten. She delivered her speech with dignity, grace, and force, challenging any adult who would think kids just don’t know about “the real world”.

Hear the youth! Listen to them, because they know!
#SayHerName #NeverAgain

— Hénia Belalia

Where We Saw It

March for Our Lives coverage on CNN, March 24, 2018