Minneapolis, MN – Students from at least 12 Minneapolis and suburban high schools walked out of school, Jan. 20. at noon to protest the current wave of immigration raids and deportations happening around the country. After walking out, the students converged at Martin Luther King Park in south Minneapolis for food and an open mic where students spoke about their experience with family members and friends being deported. Students then left the park and marched down major Minneapolis streets including Nicollet Avenue and Lake Street.
Students participated from high schools including Washburn, Southwest, South, Roosevelt, El Colegio, Hiawatha, Cristo Rey, Kennedy, Richfield and others. Several cars full of students even came to join the protest from Northfield, more than an hour away from Minneapolis.
The walkout was initiated by high school students who saw an injustice happening and decided to take the initiative. One of the organizers, Julio Martinez, said, “We protest because we want to stop deportations. We’re standing up for our rights, and we want other young people know to speak up when something is wrong, to stand up for their rights.”
Samantha Compean Morales, another student organizer, said, “We are doing this walkout to show solidarity with the families that are being ripped away from each other by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. Obama, the deporter-in-chief, approved of having ICE agents deport people who crossed the border after May 2014. Sadly, a huge percentage of people taken during the raids are women and children, that fled Central American countries. They came to the U.S. to escape from drugs, war and corruption happening in their home countries. They are seeking better job opportunities, a better future and a better education not only for themselves but also for their families.”
Community members and college students were also present in support of the youth-driven event. Community activist Marco Cruz Blanco, who marched with the students said, “We are here to uplift the voices of our youth and to remind ourselves that the struggle is transgenerational and therefore it’s crucial to invest in brown youth.»