By Amanda Piril
Students from various middle schools, high schools, and colleges all came together at Portland State University on Wednesday, April 4th to talk about gun violence. The students invited local politicians to join them in their discussion. Some of the notable individuals that attended include Oregon U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Senator Mark Hass, and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.
The theme for the evening’s discussion was “#EnoughIsEnough” which was inspired by the advocacy from students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The goal for the night 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.
Laws in Oregon state 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, also took part in the organization of the event. Hersi’s most memorable moment of the night was how she got to meet with congressmen and how she was able to address her concerns. Hersi also shares why she found it so important to attend, “I believe that our generation needs to set a mark for everybody and all the generations after us. We need to lead the way. We need to say that enough is enough.”
Beaverton’s Principal Anne Erwin comments on the event, “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, and they were very 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).