As the March for our Lives movement gains weight and walkouts occur across the country, many turn to student activists in their community for guidance and leadership. Marceline Kilassa (12) is a prominent student activist in the Franklin community and works hard to help others succeed. She attends many marches and rallies, is a local leader in the movement towards gun control, and is a prominent figure in Students Against Gun Violence. In this group, Kilassa uses the many experiences she has had with inequality to advise her in becoming a strong advocate for social justice, stating, “I’ve been doing this for a while; protests aren’t anything new.” She is inspired by those in her community who have shown a passion for social justice at a young age, and recognizes that activism is about creating a better community not only for herself but for younger generations and those around her. “Everyone’s voice is important,” she says.
Mya Anderson (12), a fellow Franklin student and friend of Kilassa, is also involved in student activism and promotes social justice in her community. Anderson has worked with Kilassa since sophomore year and “started to get to know her better through BSU… [she has] a passion for activism and is an extremely hard worker,” says Anderson. She also expressed admiration for Kilassa’s work in activism not just at Franklin but in the greater Portland area as she continues to promote important movements such as Black Lives Matter that draw attention to injustice in modern society.
As Kilassa wraps up her last year at Franklin, she will still work to improve the lives of others. She will continue her education and is still “waiting to figure out her plans after high school.” Social justice and student activism will be important parts of her life as she ends her high school career, and she wants people who are possibly interested in becoming more involved in their community and promoting equality to know that “all you have to do is speak up and help others learn to do so as well.”