The world has been spellbound by the Derek Chauvin trial this week as witnesses took the stand each day to recount what happened on May 25, 2020.
But one woman, local high school teacher Kaia Hirt, is calling for more to be done beyond the trial to address larger issues with police brutality in Minnesota.
On Monday, Hirt chained herself to a fence outside of the Hennepin County Government Center, calling for local officials to do more to reform the police departments in Minneapolis, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“I’m frustrated by local and state officials’ failure to address racist policing in the community. We will not have justice until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,” Hirt told the newspaper.
“When we say nothing about the things that are going on in our world…We are failing them as educators,” she added.
The 10th grade teacher chose the Hennepin County Government Center because that is where Chauvin’s murder trial is being held.
The Champlin Park High School teacher said her protest was done in honor of the families of those killed by police. She said that while George Floyd’s family received a settlement and the officer who killed him is on trial, many other families have to live with the reality that the officers involved in their cases never faced punishment.
Hirt explained that she is a member of Good Trouble for Justice, a protest organization that will have a different member chained outside of the courthouse every few days.
Hirt said she took two days off to chain herself to the fence and that someone else will take over for her once she goes back to work.
The group’s goal is to eventually set up a meeting between families of those killed by police and Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Hirt said they want to end qualified immunity for police officers and is urging lawmakers in the state to work harder on various police accountability bills.
Hirt and many other members of Good Trouble for Justice spent weeks ahead of the trial protesting, starting an effort to put locks with the names of those killed by police on the fence erected outside of the court house.
“The police can be so violent. They literally terrorize and traumatize. I have so many brilliant students at school of all colors. Any of them or my kids could be next,” Hirt told The New York Times.
“I shouldn’t be afraid of the police in this country. I am not afraid now,” she added.