2020 - WASHINGTON STATE
Amira Tripp Folsom is a senior at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Portland, Oregon. Amira is a gun violence prevention activist and a leader of the organization Re-Innovate Evolve Prevent. REP, a program of the nonprofit Next Up, which focuses on creating young leaders and increasing civic engagement in diverse communities, uses community engagement as a means to highlight the intersection between racial inequities and gun violence. In the aftermath of a school shooting in 2018, Amira and other REP members planned a statewide school walkout and town hall called the "Day of Action." Over 1,000 students walked out of school and more than 200 attended the town hall event. At the Day of Action, Amira spoke about the effects of gun violence and police brutality on her life and on the black community. As a black female activist, Amira felt a need to uplift the voices and experiences of black and brown communities who have experienced gun violence, and she saw REP as a mobilizer for her vision. She became a REP leader and organized most of their events. Since then, REP has held community events, hosted racial equity training, and led workshops educating others about the reality of "everyday" gun violence. Amira was the lead organizer and moderator of the panel "Redefining Mainstream Narratives on Gun Violence" that brought together activists and lawmakers to discuss how gun violence and race are linked and the action that needs to be taken. Additionally, Amira helped organize REP's Black History Month event, "Create and Celebrate: Night of the Arts," focused on showcasing that the black experience is not a one-dimensional experience of pain and suffering. This event showcased young black creative talent with performances by local artists, musicians, and poets. Through REP, Amira developed skills in activism, leadership, and organizing. Her confidence in her ability to make meaningful change for what she believes in grew. Outside of REP, Amira is the founder and president of her school's Black Student Union and is dedicated to advancing racial equity for those who come after her.