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State Honoree

Nikolaos Milonopoulos

California

Nikolaos Milonopoulos, 14, of Studio City, Calif., an eighth-grader at Campbell Hall in North Hollywood, led an effort to raise awareness of gun violence among young people in the City of Los Angeles. After being frightened by gun violence in his neighborhood four years ago, Niko and his twin brother lobbied to make the city safer for all kids by creating Kidz Voice LA and collecting more than 7,000 signatures from local youth urging a citywide ban on the sale of gun ammunition. They met with city lawmakers, gave speeches, participated in marches and rallies, and testified at legislative hearings. As a result, a motion was introduced in 1999 to the city council on behalf of the city’s kids. Last month, young people led by Niko lobbied for the initiative on the council floor, which resulted in the preliminary passage of an ordinance that bans the sale of all high-capacity ammunition citywide. “Los Angeles loses over 50 kids a year to gun violence,” says Niko. “And until this on-going tragedy stops, we will continue to make our voices heard.”