Youth speak: students need more support

thoughtful young ethnic plump lady in colorful clothes sitting in street near pink wall
Tajelle Freeman/ Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Last week, a group of young people held a press conference to express their frustrations with the present conditions in Minneapolis and the fact that their voices were not heard. The MSR, in an effort to support our youth, has reprinted one of their essays below.

My name is Tajelle Freeman, I am 17 years old and a senior at De La Salle High school. I have recently organized and led the March for Equity which has opened the opportunity for me to address the issues of inequity that I see in my school and community. The need for this initiative is rooted in the underrepresentation of Black excellence and success in schools, media and even households. Students need support long-term from people they can trust and are devoted to helping them succeed. Students not only need long-term care but they also need trauma-informed care.

In a more equitable school and community there would be programs that tackle these issues and others that are holding back students from the success that they could be achieving. I am speaking from experience when I say that I did not have the support in school that I should have. If it was not for the long-term care that I received in my household, I would not be as educationally inclined as I am now. When I look around my community I see students just like me, with the same amount of potential. I see students who received less than I have in terms of support, who were told the opposite of “you can do anything you put your mind to”. I see students with the power to change the world. And I truly believe that with the proper guidance and support they will see this for themselves as well.

This is why we demand state-funded organizations that are for the community to be led by the community.  Also, we demand a re-evaluation of budget cuts in schools that are getting rid of valuable staff. Lastly, we demand an increase in the percentage of Black teachers in Minnesota. We should ask ourselves why out of all the Minnesota teachers there are only 1.4%.

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