Students speak out about protests and police brutality

Thinking, talking and marching about police brutality and racism

Richmond High School students are joining students across the country who are thinking, talking and in many cases marching to share their thoughts about police brutality and racism. Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay Area, is part of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Derrion Walker, 15, sophomore, Richmond High

“I don’t feel as safe when I’m around cops. I still want to be a police officer not for the bad but for the good. It also seems that I have to choose to be BLACK or BLUE. I feel like I can be the next Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, or any other black brother or sister that has been put down by a white police officer. This affects me because I want to be a police officer, I don’t want to be the one who gets looked at differently but I want to be the one who makes a difference.”

Gloria Vazquez, 15, sophomore, Richmond High

“The protests and the riots are affecting my family and me. I work in a store and my family goes off to work as well. There is nobody home to buy groceries. Because there are riots and looting, everything closes early. We are not able to buy food… We stop work at 8 p.m. Lately, stores have been closing at 6 or 7 p.m.”

Casandra Marie Espinoza, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“I love the way everyone came together…but looting is wrong. It makes sense to protest but I don’t think we can gain justice by looting stores. I think there are people taking advantage of the situation.”

Neida Marques, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“I would join the protests if I had a chance. However, there is a virus growing every day! I have a baby brother and I care about my family. Plus there is a lot of violence rather than peaceful protests. I’m young and I want to have a life. This protest can take that away. The lootings seem unnecessary. I don’t see the point in ruining businesses for justice.”

Yulisa Lopez Ruiz, 16, sophomore, Richmond High

“I feel like the protests should’ve been more calm and peaceful so justice would be served. Breaking into stores and robbing (doesn’t) help. There are people scared like me. You never know who can get killed. It’s not necessary and it seems like people are taking advantage of George Floyd’s death.”

 Ronishlla Maharaj is a student at Richmond High School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. She is a staff writer for the West Contra Costa Student Reporting Project.