Minnesota students walkout of classrooms to protest racial injustice
"They’re killing us, they’re killing the young people, they’re killing the future of this country."
Hundreds of students across Minnesota walked out of class on Monday in a state-wide protest against racial injustice.
The event was organized by Minnesota Teen Activists, and students from at least 118 high schools reportedly participated in the walkout. According to the New York Times, the students demanded school leaders end their “silence over racial injustice.”
The coordinated action was in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, a 20-year old Black man who was fatally shot last week in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Kim Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who killed Wright, announced last week that she had resigned from the force. She is currently facing second-degree murder charges. Meanwhile, ex Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is currently facing charges of second-degree unintentional felony murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder and second-degree manslaughter for his fatal arrest of Floyd almost a year ago, theGRIO reported.
Hundreds of high school students dressed in Black left their classrooms Monday afternoon during the closing arguments in Chauvin’s murder trial. They marched about a mile along Lexington Avenue to the Roseville Police Department, where they held a moment of silence for Wright.
“We are here as students to say enough is enough and we want our voices heard. We can no longer live in a world that criticizes us based on our skin color and it not ready to do anything about it,” said Jomi Omoya, a senior in the Roseville high school district who helped organize the walk-out event. “It just shows how Minnesota is ready to rally together to solve this issue,” he added.
Students at Osseo High School also participated, taking their call to action straight to the school district headquarters.
“We’re not having no change,” said Osseo High School student Darnesha Brown. “There has not been no change for our people and I am out here supporting our people.”
At Champlin Park High, hundreds of students chanted “This is what community looks like!” as they reportedly marched around the school’s track carrying signs. A crowd of students also gathered outside the U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“It just means to bring us peace because we’ve been going through a lot of violence around this city and we’re tired of it,” said Isaac Stanley, a student at Osseo High School. “It’s a peaceful protest; we don’t want to cause any harm, right we’re just here to speak up so you can hear our voice.”
“I feel today very empowered and I feel determined and excited for the future.. and it gives me a feeling of hope, honestly,” said Omoya.
“When you see injustice, stand up,” said a young woman seen in a video recording shouting through a megaphone at students gathered outside Fridley Senior High School. “When you see injustice speak out.”
Another student is heard saying, “They’re killing us, they’re killing the young people, they’re killing the future of this country. And it’s about time that we realized it was the young people who stood in the face of racism and demanded change.”
The students who participated in the walk-out are not expected to be disciplined since Monday’s protests remained peaceful.
“We were outside at a time when we were supposed to be eating lunch, we were outside at a time when we were supposed to be in class,” said Helen Tefera, a senior at St. Louis Park High School. “We’re walking out for something that shouldn’t exist in the first place: racism.”
Meanwhile, as theGRIO previously reported, statistically, police killings are hard to prosecute. Despite the fact that law enforcement officers kill about 1,000 people a year across the United States, only 121 officers have been arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter in on-duty killings, according to data compiled by Philip M. Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
*theGRIO’s Jordan Wilson contributed to this report.
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