Inside one of the largest youth community organizing groups in MN

A student speaks into a bullhorn.
Elk River High School in Minnesota students join a statewide walkout on April 19, 2021, in protest of racial injustice. The walkout was organized by MN Teen Activists, a group that has also organized other student actions across the state.
Elsay Yoder | Sahan Journal file

Last week, hundreds of students walked out of Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul to protest what they called a “sexual assault culture” in the school.

The walkout was organized by MN Teen Activists, a group that has also organized other student actions across Minnesota. In April, they led a statewide walkout involving over 100 schools to protest racial injustice in honor of Daunte Wright and George Floyd.

How have these students organized such a large movement and developed such visibility? What are they working towards? Jerome Treadwell is a senior at Highland Park and an organizer for MN Teen Activists. He joined host Cathy Wurzer to talk about the power of youth activism.

According to Treadwell, MN Teen Activists was formed in May 2020 by Twin Cities metro area students in response to injustices they saw at their schools. Since then, the group has worked toward its mission of amplifying the voices of youth and fighting systemic injustices in schools.

Treadwell is proud that in his generation, “No one’s afraid to really speak out about what’s happening.”

The organizers of MN Teen Activists want to make sure that they’re leading the movement correctly and in a just way, Treadwell said. They’ve worked to establish relationships with human resources departments and administration at schools and investigate the claims of injustice they receive from students across the state.

“I get so excited when I see tangible change because of youth,” Treadwell said.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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