Update: Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle confirmed to speak at rally.


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So much has happened in the scant two weeks since my initial post about the upcoming “Respect Humanity: Uganda March and Rally” that I thought an update post was needed.

As you will recall, students from Beaverton, Oregon’s Southridge High School Leadership Club, GSA and Uganda Club were so upset about Uganda’s pending “kill the gays” bill that they joined forces to organize a march and rally to focus public attention on the issue.  Preparations for the January 23rd event are ongoing, and there are numerous exciting developments to report.

As word of the event spreads, other clubs and sports teams from Oregon high schools and universities are eagerly joining the effort: Newport High School GSA; QSA from Cleveland High School in Portland; International School of Beaverton; Health and Sciences High School of Beaverton; Global Awareness Club from Beaverton High School; Leadership students from Westview High School in Beaverton; Queer Alliance at Portland State University.

Significantly, the Beaverton School District is now officially supporting the event.  Parent volunteer Esther Griffin explains:

There have been many meetings and much discussion, and they have decided the kids are intelligent, mature, dedicated, learning a lot along the way and showing good leadership, and they have decided to stand with us on this event. Southridge Interim Principal Len Case attended the planning meeting yesterday and saw and heard 28 bright kids, including 4 from another school, and was very impressed with all of them. He saw that it is indeed student-led (with assistance), not adults pushing an agenda on kids. And they will have their district safety person help the kids learn about crowd control. We’re so excited!

Apparently CNN heard the story and contacted the school district, not us directly. So at least now if people come calling, the district can say, yes, they know about it and they’re supporting their intelligent and compassionate students. Maybe CNN is still listening… :)

Wow, CNN?!  Speaking of press coverage, Just Out published a full-page story about the Respect Humanity event, and profiled one of the key student organizers, Chelsea Pfeifer (pictured at right, bottom).  The full story is on p. 16 here.  Willamette Week is also blogging the lead up to the event, and journalists from Beaverton Valley Times and The Oregonian are also working on stories.  Advocate.com wants to see photos and video of the march and rally.

The speakers list is taking shape nicely.  The student organizers are still checking on the availability of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, former Gov. Barbara Roberts and gubernatorial candidate Bill Bradbury.  The following speakers are confirmed:

* Southridge student organizers Seta and Morgan, Chelsea and Rina and a Southridge student originally from Lesotho; students from other schools; Southridge GSA advisor Rich Matkins.

* Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon

* Reverend Chuck Currie, a United Church of Christ minister based in Portland, OR.  

* State Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton)

* Kendall Clawson, Executive Director of the Q Center in Portland.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is not available to attend because the Senate will be in session, but he may be contributing a letter to be read at the rally.

Organizers are trying to find a speaker from the Ugandan community – an independent speaker not connected to any of the local government-related agencies.  Unfortunately, Ugandans are at risk if they speak because the bill contains a provision for the extradition of Ugandan citizens living abroad.  It is also problematic for anyone receiving Uganda government funding to criticize the government.

“Respect Humanity: Uganda March and Rally”

Saturday January 23rd in Beaverton, OR


March kick-off at 12 noon simultaneously from

* Southridge High School

* The K-Mart parking lot located at Murray Blvd and TV Hwy

* The Mill End Store parking lot at SW 5th and SW WesternThe march ends at the Beaverton City Library fountain area for a rally at 1:15pm.

Please email inquiries about this event to respect.uganda@gmail.com

Related:

* Oregon high school with Ugandan sister school plans protest against Uganda’s gay genocide bill