Minneapolis youth share their experiences watching Chauvin trial

Brandi Powell
Updated: April 07, 2021 06:49 PM
Created: April 07, 2021 06:07 PM

It is now the second week of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. 

Jerome Treadwell, a 16-year-old junior at Highland Park High School in St. Paul is just one of many young people watching the trial unfold.

"It's a little bit of an optimistic feeling," said Treadwell, who is also president of the Youth Council for the NAACP-St. Paul.

He said it's been difficult to watch the Chauvin trial. 

"Personally, I'm emotional. The teen who had to witness that, and was recording that, like I immediately put myself in his or her position as they took the stand," Treadwell said, referring to 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, who testified last week.

Along with Treadwell,  Monaea Upton said she has been keeping a close eye on the trial. Upton is a 17-year-old high school senior at North Community High School in Minneapolis.

"I've been rather irritated and sometimes a little hopeful, but more like it's kind of depressing to watch at the same time," Upton said.

Upton was among the peaceful protesters who gathered in Minneapolis on the first day of testimony.

"I was really just protesting for the people. It's fun to be with your people, and not even just Black people, but just your community," Upton said. 

Founder of  "Don't Complain, Activate" and former Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie E. Redmond said she's working with youth during the trial.

"Young people often have to receive a lot without having spaces to process," Redmond said. 

Redmond is encouraging them to take care of their mental health. 

When asked if he feels hopeful that the justice system is working as it should in the Chauvin trial, Treadwell said, "I don't feel hopeful because we have been let down several times."

But both teens say as they watch and wait during the trial, they want to continue using their voices for healing and justice.

Redmond told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that an event called "Community Activation Week for George Floyd" is happening soon. 

Other upcoming events surrounding the trial include: 

  • 6 p.m. April 22: Healing Event/Gathering at Shiloh Temple International Ministries parking lot
  • 6 p.m. April 23: Rally at George Floyd Square 
  • 1 p.m. April 24: Prayer and Praise for Victory at Hennepin County Government Center

To learn more about the Activation Bus with "Don't Complain, Activate" Activation, click here.

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