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Clifton Kinnie

Ferguson protester and Black Lives Matter activist
In 2014, Clifton Kinnie was a student at Lutheran High School North in Ferguson, Missouri, mourning the death of his mother when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. Brown’s death sparked a movement that loudly declared that black lives matter, and Kinnie spent his school days mobilizing fellow teenagers to stand up for themselves and their community in the face of violence. He organized Our Destiny STL, connecting 30 schools in the area to help register young voters and conduct a mass walkout. “I felt like I was out there fighting for my little brother,” Kinnie, now a Howard University junior, tells Teen Vogue. “And whether it’s Mike Brown or 17 kids [in Parkland] or those children in Sandy Hook, what does it take? What is it gonna take for them to listen to us?”

“I am unapologetic about the way I’m gonna fight for change. I’m always gonna be unapologetic. Because no one’s apologized to us for the countless murders, for the countless deaths.”