When 11-year-old Naomi Wadler took the stage at the March for Our Lives protest earlier this year, her words resonated with many. “My name is Naomi, and I’m 11 years old. Me and my friend Carter led a walkout at our elementary school on [March 14]. We walked out for 18 minutes, adding a minute to honor Courtlin Arrington, an African-American girl who was the victim of gun violence in her school in Alabama, after the Parkland shooting,” she told the crowd. “I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington. … I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence. Who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls and full of potential.”
Naomi may only be 11, but her powerful words and mature-beyond-her-years poise is inspiring kids (and grown-ups) all around the world.
Name: Naomi Eden Wadler
Favorite app: Safari, because it helps me do my research for my speeches and find out what’s been happening.
What she does: I am a 5th grade student who just happens to be an activist.
Three words she’d use to define her generation: Powerful. Persistent. Unique.
How activism became a passion: After Parkland I really saw the tidal wave reaction from all the students around the country, and I thought that I would join in and speak on what I believed in.
How she first used her voice in the gun control conversation: When I went to my principal to discuss a walkout.
How she ended up speaking at March for Our Lives: They called me, well, George Clooney called me. He had seen a video I had done about why I added an extra minute [in our walkout] for Cortland Arrington. He told me I had spoken very eloquently, and that he loved my message, and that he’d like me to come speak at the march.
What she wishes older people understood about Gen Z: That we are more than new iPhones and school.
How she thinks Gen Z will change the world: By persisting.
Her heroes: Michelle Obama, Lupita Nyong’o, and my mom.
Her greatest accomplishment (so far): Teaching myself how to play the ukulele.
What she hopes she’s doing 10 or 20 years from now: Being happy.