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A girl changing the world

By Olivia Rojas

As national movements around the country focus on gun law reform and equality for women, Lily Williams has her own brand of activism at Pleasant Valley High School in LeClaire, Iowa.  

She has established clubs such as Never Again QC, GLI, and Be the Change. These clubs contribute to local level by raising awareness and giving back to the community through service projects. She said, “I realize how important it is for the upcoming generation and myself to speak up and have a voice.”

Inspired by the students in Parkland, Florida, Lily and her peers felt the call of action to join the Never Again movement. “Never Again QC involves all the schools in the area, spearheaded by my co-leader, Vashi Chintalapalli and I. We took that experience and reached out to people that we knew who were involved and outspoken in all the schools to show that we were trying to run a nonpartisan movement on Never Again.”

Lily’s leadership positions within these clubs have increased her passions with both the political and journalism fields. Lily said she believes that hearing different stories and being able to learn from others are huge factors that are important to understanding today’s changing society. She said, “I learn every day from hearing experiences and ideas from my peers.”

Highschool is not the first place where Lily was introduced to politics. “There has always been a strong political presence in my household. “My parents exposed me to news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News at a young age,” she said.

Lily and the others in her local community work hard to express their voices and beliefs. However, her efforts come with backlash because Lily is not immune to criticism from those with opposing views.  

Lily’s way of handling the hate? Diplomacy. “Whenever a person confronts me about my activism, I often ask them to talk with me one-on-one,” she said. “This way I am able to hear their views and they are able to hear mine, but in a conversational manner. Compromise is the only way solutions are found to conflicts.”   

For those wanting to get involved as well, Lily has piece of advice. “Don’t back down. You can achieve what you want to achieve, especially on topics that are controversial,” she said. “People will shoot you down so fast without even listening. Stay persistent and determined because your voice is heard.”

Lily plans to attend a four-year institution, where she can see herself pursuing a degree in political science or journalism. she said. “I will always have a connection and be a representative for my state government, even if attend college out of state, she said. “I’m researching every institution that I am interested in to find more ways that can be involved. I am the type of person who has to continue their passions once they are found.”