Sit in for unity draws students and staff


Tor Gullholm

Mayra Favela speaks to students during a sit in for unity. She organized the even which took place at the beginning of fourth block.

By Tor Gullholm

Between second lunch and fourth block, students gathered in the commons for a sit in protest. The purpose of the sit in was to make one thing clear: Tigard High School is a place of acceptance and love, and is a school for all students. Principal, Andy Van Fleet gave a short speech at the start of the event, which clarified that this protest was not politically motivated. A dozen or so teachers monitored the crowds of attending students, along with a handful of security personnel.

The face of the demonstration, Mayra Favela, took inspiration from Tualatin High School’s protest, which took place earlier in the day. With the cooperation of school administrators, Favela organized the event; she called for students to join her through social media and rallied even more students during second lunch. Because the demonstration was executed on the day of its conception, student turnout was lower in comparison to last year’s protest walkout. Our current political atmosphere may have contributed to way in which this protest was carried out.

“Politics makes people really mad and really heated, and just doesn’t get anywhere. Everybody has different opinions. I can’t go over some things because I didn’t want to be targeted for my political views. The whole point of the message was that we are all in this together,” Favela said.

With this in mind, Favela gave a segmented speech to her fellow students; calling for unity and safety at THS. A consistent theme of tolerance germinated behind her words, as students and staff applauded her for speaking openly with them.

“Honestly, the point of the rally was to let everyone know that this is not about political views. This is about Tigard uniting as one–to let everyone know that you’re loved. No matter who our president is, you are loved,” Favela said.

Among the staff members at the demonstration, some joined the students on the floor. These staff members, some teary-eyed, listened to Favela’s speech as participants in the protest. Media assistant, Eryn Mckee was on of these staff members. She chose to attend the event so as to show her support for the students and the message they were trying to send.

“I think it was done well, and it was not disruptive. When kids went back to class–it’s hard to say if that caused a disruption. It looked like people worked together to clear the commons, take the tables up, move them out of the way, clear the floor… It looked like staff and students worked together,” Mckee said. “Hopefully it will spread the message that everyone here is loved and cared for by the staff and students. We want it to be a safe place for all.”

After Favela’s speech–which was about five minutes long–students were dismissed and ushered back to their classes by Van Fleet. Finishing soon after the official start of fourth block, the rally received positive reactions from those in attendance.