THERE were many powerful moments at the record-breaking gun march. A Florida shooting student vomiting on stage, Jennifer Hudson weeping for relatives killed by firearms and Paul McCartney speaking of the lost of best friend John Lennon.

But most devastating of all were the words of children for whom gun violence wasn't a one-off horror, but a daily reality.

One heartbreaking call to action went almost unnoticed. Myra Middleton, from Chicago, told the crowd at the Washington March For Our Lives she was at a store for her sick mother a couple of years ago when a distressed customer began trashing the place, throwing products on the ground and pushing trolleys over.

"When he finally turns to me, he comes toward me, and I couldn't breathe, I couldn't move, I couldn't talk, I couldn't think," said the 16-year-old.

"He pulls out this silver pistol and points it in my face and said these words that to this day haunt me and give me nightmares. He said, 'If you say anything, I will find you.' And yet I'm still saying something today."

Mya Middleton, a 16-year-old student from Chicago, said she still had nightmares over an incident that was sadly not all that surprising in her city.
Mya Middleton, a 16-year-old student from Chicago, said she still had nightmares over an incident that was sadly not all that surprising in her city. AP Photo - Andrew Harnik

She said she was still haunted by the horrifying moment, one that is not a rare occurrence where she's from. "Chicago goes through this every day and you don't realise how much of a toll it is taking on the city until you see it in our communities you see it in someone you know, you see it on someone like me."

She concluded her speech by asking the crowd to join her "in sharing my pain and anger".

And she warned that the United States is turning into something it was never supposed to be. "Guns have become the voice of America," she said.

Alex King and D'Angelo McDade, also from Chicago, took the stage with their fists in the air and duct tape over their mouths. D'Angelo, 18, told the crowd: "I, too, am a victim, a survivor and a victor of gun violence.

"I come from a place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty … but today we say 'No more.'"

Christopher Underwood, 11, stood up on stage to tell the crowd about how his teenage brother was shot in the dead on a street corner six years ago.

Christopher was just five years old and his brother was 14 - and survived for 14 days. "Senseless gun violence took away my childhood and nothing in my life was ever the same because I no longer have my best friend," said Christopher.

This wasn't a mass shooting, a horrifying tragedy that reverberated around the world, it was just a bad day in Brooklyn, New York.

"For me, I would like to not worry about dying, and focus on math and science and playing basketball with my friends," said Christopher. "Don't I deserve to grow up?"

One girl aged just 11 stopped the world in its tracks on a day filled with astonishing speeches from eloquent young people.

Americans are already declaring Naomi Wadler a future president after her devastating speech in Washington, delivered with utter conviction, cut through to the heart of the world's problems.

She explained that she and a friend had led a walkout at their school in Alabama last week, for the Florida students and for a far less well-known African-American girl named Courtlin Arrington, who was shot dead at her school in the weeks afterwards.

"I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington," said Naomi. "I am here today to represent Hadiya Pendleton. I am here today to represent Taiyania Thompson, who at just 16 years old, was shot dead at her home here in Washington, DC.

Naomi Wadler, 11, took the protest by storm with her impassioned speech on the deaths of African-American women and girls.
Naomi Wadler, 11, took the protest by storm with her impassioned speech on the deaths of African-American women and girls. AP Photo - Andrew Harnik

"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.

"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'm here to say that everyone should value those girls, too."

Her words struck a chord with the crowd, which screamed and whistled at her regal call for change.

"Naomi Wadler is my president," tweeted Tessa Thompson.

"My white 6yo watching #NaomiWadler in awe... 'that girl is going to be president some day,'" added Jennifer Colamonico.

Even Kim Kardashian, who has three children with African-American singer Kanye West, retweeted Naomi's speech.

"The single most powerful political speech of 2018...was just delivered by an ELEVEN year old girl," tweeted Krown City King. "You'll hear from her again."

Beating her critics to the punch, Naomi acknowledged that some had said she was " too young to have these thoughts" and must be the "tool of a nameless adult." That isn't true, she insisted.

"My friends and I might be still be 11 and we might still be in elementary school, but we know, we know life isn't equal for everyone.

"So I am here to honour 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 honour the girls, the women of colour who were 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."

A small giggle at the start of her speech was the only evidence that this composed, self-assured young girl was not yet even a teenager.

Christopher Underwood, a junior ambassador with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who lost his brother to gun violence in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Christopher Underwood, a junior ambassador with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who lost his brother to gun violence in the Brooklyn borough of New York. AP Photo - Andrew Harnik

She wasn't even the youngest person to galvanise the crowd, with Yolanda Renee King - granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr - leading the masses in a rousing refrain. "Spread the word. Have you heard? All across the nation. We, are going to be, a great generation."

Referencing her grandfather's most famous speech, she said: "My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough! And that this should be a gun-free world, period."

News Corp Australia


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