By Amanda Piril
Students from various middle schools, high schools, and colleges came together at Portland State University on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018, to talk about gun violence. They invited local politicians to join them in their discussion. Some of the notable individuals that attended included Oregon U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Senator Mark Hass, and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.
The theme for the evening’s discussion was “#EnoughIsEnough” inspired by the advocacy of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The goal was to bring together as many different perspectives as possible and promote positive and meaningful discussions.
The event had the politicians as panelists, where they talked about the importance of common-sense gun laws. The implementation of common-sense gun laws would mean more extensive background checks and close loopholes in private sales.
Oregon law states that if a person wishes to purchase a firearm, they must be above 18 years of age. According to federal law, an individual must be 18 years old to purchase a long gun and be above the age of 21 to purchase a handgun.
The main organizers of the night’s event were students from Oregon Episcopal School, but Nabila Hersi, a sophomore here at Beaverton High School, took part in the organization of the event. Hersi’s most memorable moment of the night was when she met with congressmen and addressed her concerns.
“I believe that our generation needs to set a mark for everybody and all the generations after us,” said Hersi when asked about how important it was to attend. “We need to lead the way. We need to say that enough is enough.”
Beaverton’s Principal Anne Erwin commented, “Many people are very cynical about your generation…I have been moved and inspired by the leadership of young men and women across the country, but especially at this school, around issues that are concerning for them. I think that the success of that town hall is another example of students rallying for something they believe in and they lend their voice, effort, and enthusiasm for it as well.”
Positive responses were received by the politicians who attended, who were open to hearing what the students had to say. The conversations regarding gun violence continue, and young minds are showing the maturity they hold through their actions.
Students create a town hall forum and come together at Portland State University to talk about the issue of gun violence. (Photo courtesy of PSU Vanguard).