Alexandria Elementary Student Activists, Naomi Wadler and Carter Anderson Honored at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival

Naomi Wadler and Carter Anderson at the Tribeca Film Festival where they were among 20 Disruptive Innovation honorees at the Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo by Julie Wadler.)

Wadler Gets Standing Ovation During Her Acceptance Speech

When George Mason Elementary School classmates Naomi Wadler and Carter Anderson put together an 18-minute walkout to call attention to gun violence, they had no idea it would lead to national spotlights and personal calls from celebrities, plus awards and accolades, but it has.

Their school protest was captivating to more than just the immediate Alexandria neighborhood. Naomi herself went on to capture America’s affection when she took the podium at the March 24 March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C. telling people she was there “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.”

Since then Naomi has talked to George Clooney and sat down on television with Ellen Degeneres, and now has been honored, alongside her classmate Carter, with a Disruptive Innovation Award at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The room erupted in applause capped with a full-fledged standing ovation when Naomi took the stage at the festival to accept the award, and called out a very recent shooting event, citing again how black women of violence are frequently overlooked.

“Black women are forgotten, and their names aren’t remembered,” Naomi said. “They aren’t thought of as humans; they’re thought of as numbers and statistics.” According to The Root, Naomi went on to name DeEbony Groves, the one woman shot and killed in the Waffle House shooting in Tennessee on April 22, which left four people of color dead and several more injured.

“Her murderer was just offered bail. And you know if her murderer had been a person of color, that would never have happened,” Naomi said. According to CNN, though the accused shooter, a 29-year-old white man, was originally booked on a $2 million bond after being arrested on April 23, the bail offering was revoked by a Tennessee judge on April 24.

Naomi’s time in New York also included attending designer and philanthropist Tory Burch’s Embrace Ambition Summit, joining #1000BlackGirlBooks founder Marley Dias on a panel of young activists.