Students speak volumes on gun control

How two students planned a protest for the first time


Photo courtesy of Max Chenier

Students created signs before the protest to display their message.

Through protests, students are able to involve themselves by speaking out with ideas, spreading awareness, and sharing their experiences. On March 27, there was a student walkout following the events of the Nashville, Tennessee shooting. Max Chenier and Mashayla Scott, sophomores, attended the walkout and their interest in creating their own protest was sparked.

It took approximately a month for the two to plan out the protest, focusing on bringing students who wanted to protest gun violence. Chenier and Scott found issues from the last walkout. The two saw that students were attending the walkout with the intention of skipping class, and behaving disrespectfully.

“I didn’t really like [the last walkout] at all because the people who were there just did not take it seriously,” Scott said. “And I’m very passionate about this issue.”

As a solution, Chenier and Scott organized their own protest and held it on May 15. This was the first organized protest that they have led. Though this was their first time leading a protest, both are activists regarding gun control.

The protest had a turnout of around 20—30 students. As a group, Chenier and Scott held speeches at the baseball field, mentioning the Nashville shooting and giving insight of the reason why the two leaders have interest in activism within this topic.

“For me, [gun violence] is both personal and non-personal,” Scott said. “My brother died due to gun violence. So that made me a lot more passionate about it, but even before that, I was still passionate about it.”

Both leaders of the protest had a personal story tied to promoting advocacy on this topic.

“My neighbor also died due to gun violence in Portland,” Chenier said. “But it’s very important to me because I want to be safe in a place where I’m supposed to be safe. So it’s like, ‘Why is this happening?’”

After the speeches, the group of students walked down McKillican Street. From there, they walked towards Market of Choice, then towards the Public Library. The group then walked back up to the school. The protest was around an hour long, starting at noon and ending at 1 p.m.

“I want to plan another protest, but it’s getting so hot,” Chenier said. “So probably next year, [protests] could be like a yearly thing. But also just like advocating for it is really hard to do in school because it’s like, I don’t know how we could really because [the school doesn’t] like talking about it. The main thing I’m going to keep continuing to [do is] go to protest, and I hope in the future [become] a better activist.”