W. Michigan Teen’s Powerful Speech to City Leaders Goes Viral [VIDEO]
A Grand Rapids teenager has spoken and people have listened. A lot of people have listened. Naira Tamminga spoke before city commissioners in order to express her frustration over the city's lack of urgency in the handling of Patrick Lyoya's death in April, and her impassioned speech has gone viral.
Tamminga Expressed Her Frustration
Tamminga is a 13-year-old 8th-grade student at City High Middle School in Grand Rapids. She, along with many other residents of the city, addressed city commissioners on May 17, saying that as a young Black woman she is afraid of being a resident of the area.
“I don’t trust any of you. I don’t trust any of the police officers because you have shown time and time again that we cannot trust you," Tamminga said. "I am frustrated and frustrated can’t even begin how terrified I am to live here.”
She Led a Walkout
According to Grand Rapids TV station WOOD-TV, Tamminga organized a walkout at her school, leading students through the streets of Grand Rapids.
“As a community, we need to come together we need to show those in power that there’s a problem and we need it fixed,” she said. “It’s something that’s coming down to people’s lives and that’s something that we shouldn’t risk. We shouldn’t risk people being lost.”
Speech Goes Viral
Tamminga's words have since gone viral. Her speech has been shared to millions of people across the globe and gotten the attention of entertainment figures such as Leslie Jones, DL Hughley, Viola Davis, Dan Levy, and Jesse Williams.
She tells the TV station that her goal wasn't necessarily to go viral but to effect change in the city she calls home.
You can see the teen's address to city commissioners here, her speech begins at 1:52:15.