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Students walk out of class to ‘end the cycle’ of racism

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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of St. Paul high school students walked out of class Thursday to address the issues of social justice and racism.

More than 100 Cretin-Derham Hall students dressed in black walked in solidarity to express their feelings about what some students have had to endure because of the color of their skin.

Students marched out of class to the applause of a group of Cretin alumni. Many are students of color, surrounded by friends who support their efforts to be heard. This group says it’s time to address the issue of racism inside the school.

“’I didn’t mean it like that, it was just a joke, I’m not racist, I have Black friends, it’s OK that I say it,’” student Louis Lynch said.

“It happens on a day-to-day basis and that’s why we’re out here to end the cycle, break that down and start new,” student Knowledge Gant said.

The speeches were filled with emotion.

“I chose to speak today not only because my friends have expressed the pain that they have been caused, but because I know that classes to come will have to endure that same pain,” Lynch said.

Many in the group say this movement began out of protest for a group of students disciplined after they walked out of class on National Student Walkout Day. CDH officials say no one was disciplined for walking out. The handful of students that were reprimanded engaged in negative and profane speech, and displayed signage featuring anti-police vitriol. CDH says it does not condone racial injustice and respects law enforcement.

What this group wants more than anything is a seat at the table to address issues of racism they believe run deep inside this institution.

“I’ve seen videos being taken of words that I don’t want to say that have been sent to people of color that I don’t think should have happened, and other situations in the school that have happened,” student Cage Linton said.

“The white people that are out here hear the pain that people of color are facing, and I don’t understand why they can’t hear that either,” Lynch said.

Students say they plan more action to get the attention of the administration to discuss issues.

The administration says it’s the school’s role to focus on supporting and guiding students to live in a world that demands justice.

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