Judge Hoyos speaking to MPA studentsDuring their lunch and recess on Thursday and Friday, Social Consciousness And Racial Justice & Equity Club hosted two Zoom sessions with Upper School students, Middle School students, and faculty and staff to discuss, listen, and reflect on racism in Minnesota and the devastating murder of Minneapolis man, George Floyd, which has mobilized millions to protest on social media and participate in protests across the country.

Beginning with questions like “What responsibilities should the media have when covering cases of police brutality?” and “What are the differences between covert and overt racism?” the group also incorporated suggestions of personal action steps and phone calls to make to fight the injustices they were passionately discussing together. They finished their meeting brainstorming questions to prepare for their guest speaker on Friday, Hennepin Country District Judge Juan Hoyos.

Judge Hoyos was an excellent resource for the students and we thank him for his time speaking with us on Friday. Students asked him questions regarding hate crimes in Minnesota and asked him to address the challenges of these cases during a pandemic.

There were several themes that led the conversation with Judge Hoyos, including how true change comes about through judicial systems and processes, how systems treat people of color unjustly, and how they enable people as well. Students also asked for advice on peaceful protesting and how, as high schoolers, to pursue justice and prepare for a career in law.

“Watch lawyers work and speak, Hoyos advised. “Watch what the outcomes and how people behave.” He added that he hopes to see them in practicing in his courtroom one day.

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