24 March 2018, Washington DC, USA
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. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential.
It is my privilege to be here today, I am indeed full of privilege. My voice has been heard. I am here to acknowledge their stories, to say they matter, to say their names, because I can, and I was asked to be. 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. I am here to say that everyone should value those girls, too.
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. It’s not true. My friends and I might still be eleven, and we might still be elementary school, but we know. We know life isn’t equal for everyone, and we know what is 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. So I am here today to honor the words of 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.’ I urge everyone here and everyone who hears my voice to join me in telling the stories that aren’t told, to honor the girls, the women of color who are murdered at disproportionate rates in this nation. I urge each of you to help me write the narrative for this world and understand, so that these girls and women are never forgotten.
Related content: Emma Gonzalez's speech at the same event, beautifully written and centred around the six minutes and twenty seconds of shooting at Parkland, and the seventeen lives lost.
" For those who still can't comprehend, because they refuse to, I'll tell you where it went."