Nupol Kiazolu is the 21-year-old Black Lives Matter activist defying ageism

Nupol Kiazolu is a 21-year-old activist, pageant queen and president of the Greater New York chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

When she was 12, Kiazolu was horrified by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death, a Black unarmed teenager who was killed by police officers in 2012. She went to school with a gray hoodie and a pack of skittles with the words “Do I Look Suspicious?” written on the back. After getting written up by a teacher, her principal challenged her to present her case.

“I brought up Tinker vs. Des Moines, which in short is a Supreme Court case that established the right for students to peacefully organize within school grounds,” Kiazolu told In The Know. “I ended up winning the case [and] at that moment I knew that being an activist and organizer was my calling.” 

When Kiazolu was 16 she joined the Black Lives Matter movement officially. 

“As a young Black woman in this country, I don’t have the privilege to sit back and do nothing. I could still be killed because of the color of my skin,” Kiazolu said. 

The 2019 Miss Liberia USA was featured in the 2020 BET docuseries Copwatch America. She’s currently studying political science at Hampton University and plans to devote her life to public service.  

“You are never too young to raise your voice and stand up for what you believe in,” Kiazolu said. “I still encounter ageism on a day-to-day basis but I would encourage young people all across the world to stay encouraged despite the adversities you may face in this work.” 

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