The 11-year-old girl whose address at a gun control march in Washington D.C. galvanized activists said she faces taunts because she is black and Jewish.
During last month’s March for Our Lives, a response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead, Naomi Wadler, who is both African American and Jewish, captured the attention of the crowd at the main march in Washington D.C. Some 800 sibling marches took place throughout the United States and around the world.
“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper,” said Wadler, who is in fifth grade, during a three-minute speech. “I represent the African-American women who are victims of violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls who are full of potential.”
Wadler and a classmate planned an 18-minute walkout at their elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia. Seventeen minutes were for the victims of the Parkland shooting, and the last minute was for Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old black high school student shot and killed in an Alabama classroom days earlier.
Wadler has given interviews to several news outlets in recent days. She told Elle magazine in an April 9 interview that she has experienced discrimination both for being black and Jewish.
She said that two years ago while playing a game with a classmate, he told her she should be the slave or beggar woman because she is black. The same classmate said she could not also be Jewish because “there aren’t black people who are Jews.”
After she told the Huffington Post in an interview posted on Saturday that she wanted to be executive editor of the New York Times one day, she added that she would be the first black woman in the position. The she joked that she could be the “First Ethiopian woman. And then on and on until we get to Ethiopian Jewish woman. And then I can be the first immigrant.”