Several hundred students from Southridge High and other schools joined community members to demonstrate today in Beaverton against a proposed anti-homosexuality bill
in Uganda that would execute HIV-positive gay people, among other horrors.
“Whether you support gay rights or not, this is a human rights issue.” said Thomas Lwebuga, a Ugandan man who works at Southridge and started its sister school program seven years ago with a school in Kalisizo, Uganda.
Students began planning the demonstration
in mid-December. And just a month later the undertaking had grown to such proportions that it gained support from U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (both D-Ore.) and Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon
“I regret that I am not there to march with you today,” a Wyden aide read on behalf of the senator
, who has threatened to review Uganda's trade status if the anti-gay bill passes in the African nation. “But I will march in solidarity in the halls of Congress.”
Today's rally followed three marches that weaved through Beaverton. “I feel like I'm back in the 1960s!” Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle told the crowd.
Among the event coordinators trying to call attention in the United States to the anti-gay bill were Southridge seniors Seta Kavianian, Morgan Woods, Rina Sundahl and Chelsea Pfieffer.