Gun violence is one of the most pressing social and political issues in America. In 2023 alone, there were over 630 mass shootings across the United States. Due to these alarming numbers, young activists like Naomi Wadler are more important than ever.
In The Limelight
Now 17 years old, Naomi Wadler, first came into the limelight at the age of 11 when she delivered a compelling speech at the 2018 March for Our Lives protest. But how did it all start? What are her future aspirations? Keep reading to find out.
A School Walkout Turned Activism
In 2018, a gunman opened fire at a local Florida high school, killing 17 students and staff. One of the victims was an acquaintance of Naomi, who quickly moved to orchestrate a school walkout in honor of the victims two weeks after the incident. While other similar movements observed moments of silence for 17 minutes in honor of the victims, Naomi Wadler suggested that her school observe an extra minute of silence in honor of Courtlin Arrington, an African-American teen shot at a separate high school.
This extra minute generated a lot of buzz and displayed her commitment to fairness and equality Shortly after, she was invited by March for Our Lives producers to deliver a speech at the 2018 event in Washington, D.C., and she did! Although her speech was only three minutes long, it resonated with hearts globally.
“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper,” she said in her 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.”
By the time Naomi and her family were returning home, the media frenzy had ensued, with notable personalities tweeting, retweeting, and sharing it across the social media space. Ellen Degeneres promptly invited her to be a guest on her show.
A Crusader For Justice
Since her speech, Naomi has been featured on multiple notable platforms addressing gun violence issues, particularly on Black women. The teen received the Disruptive Innovation Award after a compelling speech at the Tribeca Film Festival and was among the Davos Economic Forum panelists. She has also been featured on Teen Vogue multiple times and participated in nearly endless activist initiatives centered on gun violence and racism.
Aspiring Beyond Activism
While Naomi is widely recognized for her activism against gun violence, her vision transcends her current endeavors. At only 17 years old, the well-spoken activist is already seen as a veteran crusader of justice and even advocates for other underrepresented advocates. She uses every opportunity she gets to raise awareness on just how understated gun violence against Black women is and harbors the ambition to one day run for the office of the President of the United States.
Recognizing that a constitutional amendment is required for that pursuit — Naomi was born in Ethiopia and adopted by Jewish parents — Naomi also aspires to become the first Black female President of the New York Times. This, she believes, will put her in a position to raise awareness and honor gun violence victims who never make the news.
“I want to be the executive president of the New York Times or a photographer,”she told The Cut of her future goals. “The Times has never had a Black female president; in fact, the majority of their board is white men."
Naomi Wadler: The Voice the World Needs
Naomi Wadler visualizes a future where she amplifies the voice of the unheard in a gun violence-torn society. As she juggles school, adolescence, and being a crusader for justice. She truly is a beacon of hope for a better society and a voice the world needs.