Students at more than 100 schools across Minnesota walked out of school on Monday, protesting police brutality as the Derek Chauvin trial progressed into closing arguments.
Chauvin is the police officer on trial for killing George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer, an event which set off extended nationwide protests over police brutality in the midst of a global pandemic. The mass student walkouts happening in Minnesota indicate continued tension around police brutality, even as the state reels from the high-profile death of Daunte Wright from earlier this month.
Newsy reporter James Packard tweeted early Monday afternoon that as closing arguments continued in Chauvin’s trial, “Students at more than 100 schools across Minnesota — including here in St. Louis Park — are walking out of school in protest of racial inequity.”The Star-Tribune provided some more context, reporting that the walkout was “a coordinated protest against racial injustice and the killing of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old man shot by a police officer in a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center earlier this month.”
The article noted that the walkout, organized by a group called Minnesota Teen Activists and coordinated primarily via Instagram, began at 1 p.m. and included a moment of silence at 1:47 p.m., the time of Wright’s death.
The organizers created a hashtag, #MNTeenActivistsWalkout, which was utilized on both Twitter and Instagram by protesters to highlight their actions.
Washburn High School student Nyagach Kueth told Star-Tribune reporter Erin Golden that the walkouts were intended to demonstrate “that our lives matter more than education right now,” adding, “How can we possibly focus on school when the whole world’s eyes are watching Minnesota now?”
Guardian reporter Lois Beckett posted a video on Twitter showing students gathered in snowy downtown Minneapolis. Twitter user @sleepisocialist shared that video and observed, “Children having to protest active military occupation.”
A similar sentiment was shared in response to Packard’s post. Twitter user @ItsMrShadow wondered, “Why do kids have to fight adult battles?”While Packard’s video included a number of supportive tweets in the resultant thread, there were a few that condemned the students for taking a stand (or merely for skipping school, regardless of the motivation).
It wasn’t just journalists documenting the protests, though. Dra. Adriana L. Alejandro Osorio (who listed the Spanish “doctora” title in her Twitter bio and is a self-proclaimed “fierce defender of children’s rights”), shared footage of the walkout at St. Paul’s Central High School. (Though, as she clarified in a follow-up tweet, she meant to comment, “Fighting for their future.”)She also captured video from another St. Paul high school, Highland High School, and shared some drive-by footage from that.
The Minnesota Teen Activists also took to Instagram and Twitter to share words and images from the day, including this video taken from a U.S. Bank Stadium rally.The Daily Dot has reached out to the protest organizers for comment.
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*First Published: Apr 19, 2021, 7:38 pm
Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor, and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.