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St. Louis Park High School Students Remember George Floyd

Three years ago, George Floyd, a resident of St. Louis Park was killed by police outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis. His murder contributed to the nationwide dialogue about police violence. In his memory, about 50 students gathered in the St. Louis Park High School auditorium to reflect on his life and the aftermath.

Student leaders in SOAR (Students Organized for Anti-Racism) planned a memorial event with a mission to empower students of all races to become catalysts for change through racial equity. Peers were invited to engage in a meaningful conversation about racism, performative activism, and how they continue to move forward. 

To start, student leaders set the stage by creating a welcoming, non judgemental space. Their first question asked peers if they changed their profile photos to black squares, leading to considerations about the benefits and consequences of social media during civil and human rights movements. Some students shared beliefs that using the black squares helped show solidarity, while other students felt as though little action was followed by many so-called “allies.”

“I was afraid I was going to end up like George Floyd,” one student shared in his rationale about why he opted to change his social media picture but chose not to participate in a protest. Students continued to discuss this topic, and also talked about their hopes for the future. At one point, students encouraged adults to share some of their perspectives, and St. Louis Park Mayor, Jake Spano, contributed a few ideas.

Mayor Jake Spano talked about his great appreciation for his 12 years serving the community, but noted that he has decided not to seek reelection because he hopes to see more young, BIPOC people in office. 

After wrapping up the discussion, students held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to commemorate the amount of time that George Floyd suffered beneath the officer’s knee. Once the time passed, students left in silence and returned to class.