Authorities in the aptly named town of Savage, Minnesota, are investigating a hate crime involving several white teenage girls posting a racist, slur-laden video on social media encouraging one of their Black peers to take her own life.
CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph and Artemis Moshtaghian reported that “in the 57-second clip, a girl says to the camera, ‘You can f**king rot in hell…no one likes n***ers … f**king kill yourself right this time.’ Another girl is heard in the background of the video — who, like the teenager on camera, alternates between vitriol and laughter throughout.”
In an interview with CNN, Nya Sigin, the subject of the video, said she was shocked by its content once her family discovered it.
“I really couldn’t comprehend what I was listening to,” the 14-year-old said. “It was really just a wave of different emotions. I was angry, I was disgusted, I was sad, I was confused.”
Sigin added that she has known the girl attacking her in the video since elementary school — “basically, my entire life.”
— Shamelle Floyd (@ShamelleLove) November 12, 2021
After the video was discovered, Nya’s older sister Elizabeth, a senior at Prior Lake High School, shared it with her sister’s permission with other students at the school to help make officials aware of the issue so it could be dealt with properly.
As the video spread, police also became aware of what had been posted.
“It was late Monday evening when I was advised of a horrific, hateful, racist video that was posted on social media,” said Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer in a news conference late last week. “This is not tolerated here.”
The school board also jumped quickly into action. Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools Superintendent Teri Staloch sent a letter to staff and families that read, in part, “once the video was brought to our attention, we immediately launched an investigation into the students involved, and we will take swift and appropriate action.”
The Minneapolis NAACP also responded to the situation in Savage, with Secretary Brooke Roper issuing a statement saying, “Minnesota has made the national news several times for racial ignorance during the past two most critical years this world has ever experienced. The Minneapolis NAACP is dedicated to protecting and seeking justice for Nya and all Black students. We demand that the Prior Lake-Savage Area School district be transparent throughout this investigation and stand on its commitment to implementing racial equity within its practices to ensure that the 4.3% of Black students enrolled in their school district are heard, protected, validated and equipped with equitable resources and real change.”
— Dianne Augustin (@Deevine1183) November 11, 2021
For her part, Sigin said that while the racist and hateful comments hurt her, she refuses to let them define her or bring her down.
“I just want people to know that I’m so beyond thankful for all the support,” Sigin told CNN. “It just makes me feel so loved and supported knowing that there are other people out there that have my back.”
She also had a message for other teens who might be going through similar situations.
“I would tell other girls, other students, or just people that are going through stuff like this and that it gets better,” Sigin said. “You don’t have to keep going through this. It’s all temporary. There are changes to be made. My best advice is just to stay strong throughout it all and remember that you have so many support systems and so many people that love you.”
A GoFundMe account set up on behalf of Nya and her family for the pain and abuse she endured from the racist video has already raised over $120,000.