Student Activists Organize Walkout

Students support Black Lives Matter and the fight against AAPI hate


Submitted by: Spencer Okoronkwo

The walkout was in partnership with @mnteenactivists on Instagram and over 80 schools around the state participated.

Evan Vezmar , Staff Writer

In response to persistent hate against Asian Americans and to offer support for the Black Lives Matter movement in light of the Chauvin trial and the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright, Minnesota Teen Activists organized a walkout for schools all across Minnesota. At least 110 schools participated, according to the Star Tribune, one of which was the Blake Upper School. Rabi Michael-Crushshon ‘22, Spencer Okoronkwo ‘22, Solveig Bingham ‘21, Lorna Kruesel ‘21, Habon Samatar ‘22, Ellie Goddard ‘21, and Yolanda Pauly ‘21 coordinated the Blake walkout with the other schools, and about 150 students and faculty congregated at the front entrance of the school during Block 7 on Monday, April 19.

The organizers spoke written poems and chants and made calls to end discrimination against minority groups. Amanda Lee Molina ‘21 and Matthew Tarr ‘24 shared their own experiences and speeches before the organizers led a moment of silence honoring the lives of African Americans and Asian Americans that have been lost due to police violence. The organizers at least 40-50 students who participated in the walkout then moved to the Carlson Commons to hold a discussion about people’s experiences with discrimination and racial profiling, what the Blake administration is doing to support students, and what further actions can be done.

There was largely a feeling of dissatisfaction with what the Blake administration and faculty are doing to talk about and discuss with students the topics of police brutality and racism. Michael-Crushshon expresses, “We are in high school and we’re in a place with really great education. We should be learning about all these issues because now is when we do that. Some people who are more ignorant or are not aware of these issues and the impact that they have on communities are also in school and teachers have so much power to be teaching them and teaching us about all of these things. Me, being Black, I shouldn’t have to teach my white peers about [racism] because the teachers have so many opportunities to do that.” 

However, the students who participated in the walkout and discussion felt hope and unity as the school came together. Imaan Ali ‘24 says, “I felt pretty powerful because we were all sort of standing together for one thing and… it felt very gratifying to be making a difference. I feel like police brutality is such an important issue and also the Asian American hate crimes that have been happening so I decided to show my support. [The walkout] sort of allowed us to open our minds to different perspectives and… explain our own experiences and also understand other people’s experiences when it comes to race.”

  Michael-Crushshon also felt that the walkout opened the eyes of many people at Blake. She explains, “I think that it allowed for the faculty and administrators to see how important these issues are to the students because sometimes it seems like they aren’t aware that we are impacted by them and that we need to have more conversations about these issues in classes.”