Serenity Sunday: When the Children Lead


Naomi Wadler led an eighteen-minute walkout at her elementary school “to bring attention to gun violence in schools across the country”. But she showed up in D.C. at the March for Our Lives rally to represent black girls who are victims of gun violence– the girls who do not “make the front page” of national newspapers.

Seventeen minutes of her walkout were dedicated to the students who were killed during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. An additional minute was added in honor of Courtlin Arrington, an Alabama high school senior who was shot and killed inside of her classroom weeks after the Parkland shooting.

What I love about Naomi is that she is not coming from a neutral position. She knows who she is accountable to. She is amplifying the voices of black girls. The voices of my daughters, my nieces, and my little cousins. So, let’s not come at her with the “all girls matter” verbiage. While March for Our Lives is intended to be an inclusive movement; Naomi knows what’s up…

“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. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.”

– Naomi Wadler

What I love about Naomi is that she is standing up at only 11-years-old when people who are three, four, five, and six times her age choose to sit, be quiet, be neutral, or be at the Mar-a-Lago resort…

We all know it’s only a matter of hours before Naomi will hear directly from The Obama’s who continue to take on the emotional labor of this country. 

What I love about Naomi is that she understands we are all not equal in this country. She anticipates exercising her right to vote in seven years, annnd this little sister can quote Toni Morrison.

What I most admire about Naomi is her commitment to the truth. We appreciate you for checking your privilege, David Hogg, but Naomi from Virginia’s got this. She, too, knows she is coming from a place of privilege because ultimately her voice “has been heard”. Although her lived reality may be different and her opportunities may not be fully equal, she does have access and a platform.

She is not going to be arrested, put on a paddy wagon, and hauled off to jail like the children in Birmingham who took a 10-mile walk to Birmingham City, launching the Children’s Crusade of 1963. But still, Naomi knows what’s up… she knows she could very well be a victim of mass incarceration or gun/police violence, which is the ground on which she stands.

Rest in Peace, Stephon Clark.

To hear Naomi’s full speech, google her. ❤


Clinnesha D. Sibley is an award-winning playwright and published poet/essayist. She is the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, MS. For more information, please visit: 

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