Nupol Kiazolu speaks on being a BLM activist and a black person in the chaos of America with Ayan Omar.
Ten years ago, Treyvon Martin was killed, by a police officer as he was walking home from the convenience store. The next day, twelve-year-old Nupol went to school in a hoodie, with the words, ‘Do I Look Suspicious,’ written on the back.
When she first began engaging in activism, Nupol was far too young to be exposed to the racial horrors of America. But she was incredibly perspective, and after being threatened with a suspension, she argued her case. She presented her argument to the principal, using a Supreme Court case – Tinker v Des Moines – which established the right for students to peacefully organize within school grounds. She won the approval.
“At that moment I knew that being an activist and organizer was my calling.”Nupol Kiazolu
Leader of the BLM Youth Coalition
A decade later, George Floyd is killed by Minneapolis police in broad daylight, and the country erupts into raging protests. Once again, Nupol, now a 20-year-old junior at Hampton University, shows up, ready to engage in the revolution. This time she comes back stronger as the president of the Black Lives Matter Youth Coalition and Greater New York.
For Nupol activism has been a way to verbalize her rage at the treatment of black people in America. Activism is not just a choice for her, but a way of life. In spite of its dismissal on grounds that it never works, Nupol sees it as a method to hold elected officials accountable.
“I’ve been organizing for a really long time, and protesting even longer,” Nupol says. Through the years, she and her team have seen the huge impact of protesting. Working as a civil rights advocator, for issues such as domestic violence, racism, Nupol has devoted her life to activism. But it doesn’t just end there for Nupol.
Nupol’s presidency goals
Nupol’s ambitions extend even further, from activist to perhaps the US’s first black, female president, in 2036, which is when Nupol aims to run. Along the way, Nupol, strapped with her political science and pre-law degree aims to reframe the country’s race relations. “I’ve been politically engaged before I even knew what it meant to be politically engaged,” she says.
She says: “Presidency is the long-term goal, right now I’m focused on effectuating change on a local level.” As an organizer and youth activist, Nupol is already laying the grounds work for her political future, but whilst she plans to make big changes on a larger scale, it is the things close to home that inspire her the most. This is why she plans to run for office in her district in Brooklyn.
A Democrat in office does not mean the fight is over
For Nupol, the country’s current leader Biden is lacking, in ways, she believes is detrimental to his ruling. Whilst the election for her and most American’s was not a choice but a must to remove Trump out of office, she still fears Biden’s win could lead to people becoming complacent, when the work is only half done.
She says: “Trump’s presidency uncovered the realities of this country that black people have been speaking out on, that this country is built on white supremacy and it is pervasive throughout every institution.” But whilst Trump emboldened so many racists, the world did not recognize just how far deep the country’s racist dogma went recently.
Nupol holds out the hope that Biden will live up to the promises he built his campaign on. Whilst many have become lax since a Democrat is in office, it does not mean for Nupol that the fight is over. As a law student and the BLM Youth Coalition president, she still sees first-hand the fatality of racist mindsets.
“Right now I’m on a case with this family of a young black baby, he was seventeen and he was killed by the police three days after the capitol riots.”
Black people are still dying under Trump and now under Biden. Nupol wants to remind people these are just baby steps, and oppression does not disappear overnight.
“We need everyone to be a part of this fight in order for us to effectively change things.”Nupol Kiazolu
When Nupol is the leader, she will strive to right the wrongs and prove the odds along the way. But what she doesn’t know is that she doesn’t have to wait until she is sitting in office to make a difference. She is already doing it.