‘Justice for Daunte Wright’ walkout takes place

Statewide protests occurs at Park

Senior+Grace+Kanyinku+speaks+to+students+during+the+walkout+April+19.+Park+was+one+of+many+schools+statewide+to+participate+in+the+%22Justice+for+Daunte+Wright%22+walkout.+

Ayelet Prottas

Senior Grace Kanyinku speaks to students during the walkout April 19. Park was one of many schools statewide to participate in the “Justice for Daunte Wright” walkout.

By Talia Lissauer and Crystal Diaz

Standing in the cold as snow fell around her, freshman Patricia Milian-Lopez listened as she and her peers spoke on racial injustice in her community after walking out of school. 

“It feels like we’re making an impact, even though we’re not that many people. But it feels nice because everyone’s being heard. And we’re able to talk about these hard topics that people usually don’t talk about,” Milian-Lopez said. 

As part of the “Justice for Daunte Wright” statewide walkout, created by the MN Teen Activists nonprofit organization, Students Organized Against Racism organized for Park students to walk out of class beginning at 1 p.m. April 19. All students were given the opportunity to speak and at 1:47 p.m., a moment of silence was held for Daunte Wright.

Fearing too many students would use the walkout as an opportunity to skip class, junior Olivia Cosey said she was originally unsure if she would participate. 

“I was very reluctant at first and then I (had) a talk with my mother and my mother was telling me how important it is to speak up for myself, because if I’m not going to do it then who’s going to do it for me,” Cosey said.

From her experiences at school, Milian-Lopez said it was important for her to participate in the walkout and she hopes it can make a difference. 

“I felt as if people in the school don’t take it seriously. And I’ve seen so much discrimination go around, especially from white boys,” Milian-Lopez said. “I just feel as if doing just one small action can have such a big impact.”

While he originally followed others outside, Freshman Dileyta Arba said he was inspired to speak after hearing others. 

“I went up there because I was hearing all these people talk and hearing all these stories and they were talking about (how) people need to come out and say something and I was like ‘dang, I should be doing something too,’” Arba said.

Park was one of many schools to walk out which made Cosey excited to know many people are trying to create change but also concerned for students’ intentions.

“It’s just not fair to the people that actually believe in things like this and want to fight for our rights and our children’s rights and our children’s children’s rights. And I feel like most people are taking advantage of these things,” Cosey said. “But it makes me very much happy that some people at least are trying to change in trying to get things to be different.”

Cosey said she hopes for change to come out of this walkout at both the state and school levels.

“I want there to be justice for what’s been happening. I want the students that have said stuff to still get suspended,” Cosey said. “I want them to all have their time in the hot seat, because it’s not healthy.”

This story was originally published on The Echo on April 19, 2021.