Portland students walk out of school to protest gun violence

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
April 5, 2023 11:45 p.m.

Hundreds of Portland students left their classes on Wednesday to protest gun violence in a march downtown. Holding signs with gun violence statistics and messages such as “kids over guns,” students took turns at the mic, giving passionate speeches demanding action from lawmakers and elected officials.

“I care that I have to think about going to school and dying, I have to think about my brother going to school and dying,” said one protesting student who didn’t state their name. “I have to think about not coming home today.”


The student asked: “Why do you only care that it should be your right to own a gun? Why do you not care that it should be our right to live?”

Students walked out of class Wednesday, April 5 2023, to protest gun violence and demand change, marching through downtown Portland and ending up at City Hall.

Students walked out of class Wednesday, April 5 2023, to protest gun violence and demand change, marching through downtown Portland and ending up at City Hall.

Elizabeth Miller / OPB

The students’ action was part of a national walkout, organized by Students Demand Action, with young people marching all over the country.

The problem of gun violence at schools regained national prominence recently, following a deadly shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.


Nico Sardi, a sophomore at Northwest Academy, walked along other students from Portland schools. At first, he wasn’t sure whether to leave school on Wednesday.

“One side of me was saying, “what will this really do?” Sardi said.

“Another side of me was very infuriated by the lack of recognition and change that the government is making.”

A couple of weeks ago, two Portland high school students were among three killed in a shooting in North Portland.

Raine Conley, an eighth grader at Northwest Academy in Portland, helped organize the Portland walkout with students from Lincoln High School and the Metropolitan Learning Center.

“How many more have to die before US government officials take action to fight gun violence and significantly restrict access to firearms?” Conley said as students responded with cheers.

Students started at Terry Schrunk Plaza, marched through downtown Portland and ended at City Hall.

Evan Gray-Williams is a junior at Northwest Academy and was another of the student speakers.

“We need to act because we know how much this matters, and we know how much we matter,” Gray-Williams said.


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