Brooklyn Center students use their voices to share concerns, frustrations
On Thursday, April 15, a student group from Brooklyn Center High School organized a demonstration to have their voices heard about what has been happening in their community this week. The students marched to the northwest corner of the campus, which is across the street from the Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD), the site of several nights of protest and unrest after the killing of Daunte Wright on April 11 at the hands of a BCPD officer.
With the support of administration, the school provided space for students to “connect, protest, and use their action to represent who we are,” said Nayeli Williams, one of the student organizers. She said that students could choose to engage in the work in different ways, including sharing a poem or written statement, creating community art or just connecting with fellow students and supporting each other.
Students in grades 6-12 were invited to participate in one of two demonstrations, one held in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
“Here in Brooklyn Center, we are committed to justice-centered education and providing a safe space where student voice is encouraged and valued,” said Josh Fraser, principal at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School. “We support their right to gather and protest about what has been an incredibly traumatic and challenging week in our community. I am proud of our students’ willingness to speak up and voice their concerns. Our school and community should be a safe place and it has not always felt like one the last several evenings.”
Many students painted signs, waving them at the National Guard members posted across the street. Most were signs supporting Daunte Wright and Black Lives Matter. A few signs used more harsh language about the police.
“It is unfortunate that some students chose to use language that we don’t condone,” Fraser said. “But we also understand that tensions are high right now, and emotions are raw. Some of our students are struggling to process what has taken place since Sunday and we need to be able to help them process it all.”