Student-run town hall at PSU addresses gun violence
A group of middle school, high school and college students hosted a large crowd of citizens and local politicians at Portland State University on Wednesday night to discuss gun violence.
"We heard about all of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and about their advocacy, and we found that really inspiring and we thought that we may tag a long and help the movement by engaging in civil discourse," said Jack Morningstar, an 18-year-old senior at Oregon Episcopal School.
The students invited several local politicians including Oregon's U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who thinks these kids are setting a great example not only for their peers, but for their entire community.
"These kids know what they’re doing. They’ve put their heart and soul into this; they believe strongly and they’re very articulate; they’re not brainwashed; they’re very strong advocates, and I think a bright spot in our community," Blumenauer said.
Beaverton Mayor Dennis Doyle was also among those in attendance. He applauded the efforts of the young organizers.
"I think it’s fascinating that the youth is providing leadership that we are sorely missing at certain levels of government, and it's really, really positive. That’s why I’m here tonight. I really believe in what they’re doing," Doyle said.
The students hope to promote intelligent conversation about gun violence, and they made a point to invite people representing diverse opposing viewpoints.
"We want as many people with as many opinions to come as possible, and we hope that we can have an enriching discussion," Morningstar said.
The theme of the town hall was "Enough is Enough," and the students who organized the event hoped to inspire others to get involved.
"We hope that we have a lot of students galvanized, knocking on doors, volunteering, interning with these organizations and pushing for the change that they want to see," Morningstar said.
"I believe that our generations 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," said Nabila Hersi, a sophomore at Beaverton High School.