WORTHINGTON, Ohio — "It is about dismantling systems of racism every single day,” said Worthington Kilbourne High School Alum Kyle Strickland.
Strickland knows times are much different now compared to 11 years ago when he graduated from Worthington Kilbourne High School.
What You Need To Know
- Hundreds of students from Worthington Kilbourne High School gathered Friday to peacefully protest the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd
- From city centers to college campuses and high schools, the message is clear — it's time to end divisiveness and stop the spread of racism
- At one point during the protest, students knelt on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which is the amount of time George Floyd was down with an officer’s knee on his neck
On Friday he had the mic as a guest speaker, and the senior legal analyst at Ohio State's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity told students they are witnessing an important turning point in American history.
“We are calling out injustice, we're not sitting on the sidelines. This is something all over the world. People are here to say Black Lives Matter, but we also have to talk about the systems of oppression that have kept people from thriving too long. We have to talk about things like police violence and addressing that and holding people accountable,” said Strickland.
Strickland told the crowd of a couple of hundred students, the time to act is now.
“Our time is now to step up and to fight and get this message out there that we're going to change the world and build a more equitable and just society,” said Strickland.
Students of all ages and school administrators in attendance Friday agree.
“Racism still is one of the greatest plagues of our country and I think the best way to combat that is to protest. If we don't change the world who will?,” said student Ava Sambroak.
“That's our ultimate responsibility is to try and help students become citizens, to try and have their voice amplified. And what we want to do, regardless of their message, we want to give them the framework and the skills and the protection to be able to speak their mind, to be able to change the hearts of people,” said Worthington Kilbourne HS principal Aric Thomas.
At one point during the protest, students knelt on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds— the amount of time George Floyd was down with an officer’s knee on his neck.
They also laid on the ground and listened to the names of victims of police brutality.
Strickland says he's grateful for the people of all ages and backgrounds who are speaking out in support and solidarity, but the fight is far from over.
“To be able to see students out here, doing this peacefully, it is perfectly fine, folks are out here and they're talking about justice and the need for justice and that's what we need to focus our message on,” said Strickland.