Eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler introduced herself to America at Saturday's March For Our Lives rally with a simple "hi." Organized in part by survivors of gun violence, March For Our Lives rallies brought hundreds of thousands of people out in cities across the country to demand lawmakers pass comprehensive gun control legislation. Among those speaking out against gun violence was Wadler. The youngest speaker at March For Our Lives, Wadler needed a step stool to reach the microphone, her words held a powerful message that led Twitter to erupt in calls for her to run for president.
"I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don't make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don't lead on the evening news," Wadler told the crowd after sharing the names of three black teens killed by gun violence: Courtlin Arrington, Hadiya Pendleton, and Taiyania Thompson. "I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential."
The elementary school student went on to say she was privileged to be at March For Our Lives to represent these African American women and girls. "I'm here to acknowledge their stories. To say they matter. To say their names," Wadler said. "For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have been just numbers. I'm here to say never again for those girls too."
Wadler's speech resonated with a number of Twitter users who applauded the elementary school student for her poise, passion, and eloquence. "The single most powerful political speech of 2018...was just delivered by an ELEVEN year old girl!" one Twitter user wrote. "Her name is #NaomiWadler. You'll hear from her again."
"Naomi Wadler for president," another user tweeted.
In Washington, standing on a stage before a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people, Wadler pushed back against arguments she was too young to be political. "People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own. People have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult," Wadler said. "It's not true."
"My friends and I might still be 11 and we might still be in elementary school, but we know," Wadler went on to say. "We know life isn't equal for everyone and we know what's right and wrong. 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."
On Twitter, social media users continued to praise Wadler's speech, sharing quotes they found to be particularly powerful or inspiring. A number of Twitter users also celebrated the young student as a future changemaker. "Naomi Wadler: you are a massive force for change. We are all so proud of you," one Twitter user wrote. "She is exactly what the future looks like," another tweeted. "#NaomiWadler I can't wait to see what you do next," a third Twitter user tweeted.
To wrap up her speech, Wadler drew on the powerful words of award-winning author Toni Morrison: "If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it." Wadler, who reportedly helped lead a walk out in protest of school shootings at her Virginia elementary school a few weeks prior to Saturday's March For Our Lives rally, then urged everyone to "help me write the narrative for this world... so that these girls and women are never forgotten."
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Wadler's last name. It has been updated.