Hi, it’s Naomi Wadler. I’m mostly your average
12-year-old, except– it is my privilege
to be here today. I’m 11 years old. I am here today to
acknowledge and represent the African-American
girls whose stories don’t make the front page of
every national newspaper. We also know that we stand
in the shadow of the capital, and we know that we have
seven short years until we too have the right to vote. And I really realized
that I had made an impact when you guys called. Really? That was it? Yes, it was nothing
else mattered. Ellen called me. I’m good. I was thinking about
what I could do to help. I noticed that a bunch of
students were doing walkouts. So I was– I thought to myself,
I want to do a walk out, too. Our march was a
little different, because we added an extra minute
to honor Courtland Arrington, a black 16-year-old in
Alabama who was shot, and I– we decided to do that
because I feel way too often black women
are shot, and their names aren’t remembered, and
they’re not valued as much. And so that this would be a good
way to get a message across. In the past year,
I’ve been asked to give speeches and speak on
panels all over the country. In between being a
regular kid, I’ve been given some
amazing opportunities, like being able to sit
down with Serena Williams. I’m so happy to do this. And I love those shoes. Thank you. I think you’re awesome. Thank you. It’s great to meet you. So you’re a role model for
so many little black girls around the world. What advice do you
have for us when it comes to standing in our power? I think it’s really important
for people and women and us to really stand up for
what we believe in, and stand in our power, and
believe that we do have power. You’re also a role model for
so many little white girls around the world. What advice do you have for
them on becoming good allies? I like to be role
models for all girls. And I really like to
say it doesn’t matter what you look like,
if you’re white, if you’re black, if you’re
Asian, where you’re from. I want to be that person that
can help you, or motivate you. I gave a speech for
March For Our Lives. But I wanted to talk
about specifically how gun violence affected black
women, because that was kind of getting lost in the noise. People were very
surprised, because I mean this was a
gun violence rally, and here I am talking
about black women. But it’s all connected. I was affected personally
by gun violence. My sister unfortunately
passed from that. So that was a really difficult
time for me and my family. In fact, that’s one of my–
that’s what my charity does, it provides a resource. It’s called the Yetunde
Price Resource Center. We provide a resource
for people that have been affected by gun violence. People are really
talking about now, because it’s happening
more widespread. It’s been affecting our
community for years. Why do you think it’s
important to have these difficult conversations? I think we need to get
comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. Situations are
never really going to get better if
you always avoid it. You have to take things head on. You have to look at it head
on, and you have to make noise. I love that. Thank you so much. It’s great to get to know you. It’s been lovely to get
to know you, as well. Thank you. My biggest takeaway from
interviewing Serena Williams is that black girl
magic is real. She inspires me so
much, and it was so cool to get to know
her and talk with her. I spoke with
Jameela Jamil on why it’s important to see
equal representation within the media. What makes you most optimistic
for the future of women, especially of women of color? I think the fact that
I’m coming up in a time where I’m seeing myself from
the front cover of magazines as a Pakistani woman. I haven’t seen many of my kind
on the cover of magazines, and Priyanka Chopra,
and Mindy Kaling, and we have so many
women of color, and we have trans women
on the cover of magazines. And I feel like we
are in a time where I’m seeing the most
women of color ever being put in positions of power. They’re being listened to,
their words being heard. And so I think just the
fact that I am currently experiencing this
incredible rise of women, in particular women
of color, makes me think that this is
only going to continue. Because we’re seeing
such great numbers. You saw Black Panther
broke box office records, and Crazy Rich Asians has also
broken box office records. And so I think seeing
the success of studios and television networks taking
a chance on women of color, and seeing how
successful that has been, means that this is only going
to continue to carry on. It’s so cool to me when I
see black and brown women on the cover of magazines,
just like you said. I am lucky enough to go to
a pretty diverse school, so I do see people and
girls who look like me. Which is so cool. But when I see them being
acknowledged and lifted up, that’s what makes
me most optimistic. I’ve been so honored to have
been recognized for my efforts to build a brighter future. So Cheerios and I want
to give a shout out to those who are doing the
same for their community. It’s time to give a shout
out to a strong young woman. Seven-year-old Ja’lynn is
a co-author of a book that reminds young girls of color
that they are beautiful and special. She also started a
community book drive that collected over 2000 books. Keep on inspiring us, children. Every time that you feel
content with yourself, and you feel
powerful, and you feel like you are good
just as you are, that is an act of
feminist resistance. And so I implore you to do that.

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Dennis Veasley

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