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Friday, December 11, 2015

Students Stage Walk Out to Protest Police Killing of Mario Woods

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 12:38 PM

click to enlarge Middle school students from SF Community School - JULIA CARRIE WONG
  • Julia Carrie Wong
  • Middle school students from SF Community School

Students from across San Francisco joined protests against the police killing of Mario Woods in the Mission and at City Hall today. Some students were accompanied by teachers or excused from classes, while others walked out without permission. 

Around 11:00 a.m., the student body of the San Francisco Community School, a K-8 school with a focus on social justice, began gathering at the BART plaza at 16th and Mission. 

"We're tired of SFPD killing black people," said Taariq Norbert, a 12-year-old African American student in 7th grade. 

The middle school students described themselves as "shocked," "really sad," and "weirded out" by the widespread videos of the fatal police shooting of Woods. 

One seventh grader, Jessika Hernandez, said that only the day before, her 15-year-old brother was arrested. "He wasn't doing anything, he was just walking home," she said, explaining to her friends that she had missed going to the park because her father had to pick up her brother from police custody. 

click to enlarge High School students from the Academy of Arts and Sciences walked out of class to join the protest - JULIA CARRIE WONG
  • Julia Carrie Wong
  • High School students from the Academy of Arts and Sciences walked out of class to join the protest

Other students joined the protest in defiance of their teachers. Hadiyah Collins, 18, is the president of the Black Student Union at the Academy of Arts and Sciences. She heard about the walkout on Instagram and spread the word. 

"I call it extinction for black people. They're just trying to get rid of us," said Collins, who lives in the Bayview. "The Bayview is changing. They're trying to wipe us out by raising the rent." 

Zakia Pearson, 16, a classmate of Collins, said she joined the protest because "We need to stand up and stop white cops from killing black people for no reason." 

Sariah Sturdivant, 17, added, "If anything, I'd rather y'all [SFPD] beat him than shoot him." 

Several African American male students said they had been harassed by police officers. 

Cartez Davis, a 10th grader from Balboa High School, and Chance Robinson, his 12th grade classmate, said they had both been stopped by police and believed they had been racially profiled. 

"It makes me feel violated," Davis, who is African American, said. "I feel stripped of my rights." 

The approximately 100 students gathered in the Mission planned to march to City Hall to join other students in protest. 

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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