We’re destined for better times if the children who spoke at the national March for Our Lives rally truly represent our future. With the current gun control debate clearly falling on the deaf ears of politicians who refuse to enact any common sense legislation, youthful voices rang loud and clear Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Two in particular – Naomi Wadler and Christopher Underwood – made sure the plight of Black America’s relationship with guns was not only recognized, but respected.
Wadler, an elementary school student from Virginia, plainly stated that even she, at the tender age of 11, could recognize the obvious racial discrepancy in acknowledging gun-related deaths of Black people, especially females.
“I am here 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 said bravely in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
She mentioned how she and her friends during the National Walkout Day earlier this month made sure to recognize a Black girl from Alabama who was also the fatal victim of gun violence after the Parkland shooting. That instance, Wadler noted, was conspicuously missing from the national narrative of gun violence. So, to make up for that, she listed off the names of several other African-American girls who were killed from gun violence.
She continued: “I represent the African-American women who are the victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”
Underwood, also 11, took the stage shortly afterward, delivering a heartfelt speech about his experience witnessing the shooting death of his teenage brother.
“My brother survived for 14 days & died on his 15th birthday, July 10, 2012. At that time, I was only five-years-old,” the Brooklyn native said. “Senseless gun violence took away my childhood ands nothing in my life was ever the same because I no longer had my best friend. Losing my brother gave me the courage to be a voice for my generation. I turned my pain & anger and turned it into action.”