portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

actions & protests | youth

March 20th Student Walkout against the war

Over the past 5 years, the student movement has been growing in Portland. The youth of America are the ones who will feel the true scorns of the war, as we are the ones expected to pay off this debt, our education is being cut, and we are the ones fighting this war. On March 20th, at 11 AM hundreds of students city wide, and thousands nation wide will be walking out of school, directly resisting our planned day to day events. From there we will take busses heading to the North Park blocks where we will enjoy speakers and a live band. By walking out, students not only take a stand against the war, but also assert our own power as a community determined to enact change. Acknowledging that silence gives consent. Students are willing to disrupt our education for one day to take a stand against five years of mounting death tolls.

We as students also believe that anti-war efforts have been too moderate and passive to make a difference. This protest (starting at 1 PM by the elephant in the North Park Blocks) has not been registered by the city of Portland, as we do not wish to host a parade. We wish to start a movement that is no longer about feeling good about yourself, but making a change in the world. Patting yourselves on the back after marching in a permitted area is not likely to directly affect war profiteers or anything for that matter. This is why we feel it necessary to make this stride.
Even with a new president on his or her way, we have to realize that corporations will not hold elections next year. The capitalist backbone of this war will stay intact until the public acts on it. Until these companies see the economic and social consequences for their actions; this war, and the many wars to come will still be fought. This is no longer about Bush and Cheney, but about the every single corporation and CEO head that is fueling this war.

This march has been carefully planned for some time now, and advertised rigorously throughout schools. We hope to invite other activists in hopes to make alliances between other peace groups and organizations. All we ask for is a show of solidarity among us, and support in efforts to come. We also wish that those attending will understand that this march is not a spur of the moment type of thing. This protest hopes to create a unified and well organized high school and college student alliance. For the first time in 4 years, high school activists in Portland are organizing with other high schools in hopes to make a more productive student resistance.
Literature will be passed out through the march, and designated student speakers will speak on the student movement's history, and the true cost of war. We believe that the activist movement has been slowly fading away because people are tired of walking in circles. This protest provides the opportunity for people to channel their distrust and anger towards the war in a more productive manner. We stress the point that this protest is not about merely only feeling good about yourself, or pointlessly rabble rousing for that matter. We aim to take the most productive approach in ending this war.

Although we have taken steps in trying to prevent it, we can not rule out the possibility of an unruly attack by the police. For this reason we ask that people protect themselves accordingly, and know their rights. The only bloc we ask for is a bloc of one unified people, arm in arm, setting aside political and physical differences in the fight against the rising tide of imperialism and fascism in America.

Solidarity to you. Please spread this message.

Pictures 18.Mar.2008 22:23



Peace be with you 19.Mar.2008 17:25


Keep love in your hearts as you demonstrate against hatred. Divided humanity will fall united with love it will stand forever.

solidarity 19.Mar.2008 19:47

college student

I would like to show solidarity. Are you open to non-high school students standing with you?

Oh ya. 19.Mar.2008 21:13


If it appeared that it was non-inclusive to everyone besides high school students I apologize. We strongly encourage the support from the community and their presence, (I believe it's in the article). We don't believe this protest will single-hadidly end the war in Iraq, anyone who believes that is unrealistic, we hope that this protest brings together a stronger community of youth and adult activists in solidarity working against not only the war in Iraq, but the corporations who start these wars in the first place.

Bring everyone you know, your teachers, your boss, your grandparents. The whole point of this protest is to build an activist alliance and raise attention to the capitalist regime behind the war.

I would be proud 20.Mar.2008 14:17


I would be proud to stand with any of you against this senseless war. Nonya is entitled to her opinion, of course, but I am pleased to see young people standing up for their own futures. This war, as any war, is robbing you of your well being, and you are right to stand up and say NO MORE. Keep thinking. Keep working for a better world. War is NOT an answer.

Thank You Students! 20.Mar.2008 15:27

Retired School Teacher

A great big thank you and congratulations to students who walked out today. I came to the North Park Blocks elephant at 1:00 but you had already gone. I looked for you all over town. Anyways, I support you all the way! You were standing up for your futures!

3-20-08 walk out against the war 20.Mar.2008 15:47


just wanted to say that i am proud to see young people taking a stand together and protesting the war. it warmed my heart to see you all arm in arm and shouting at the top of your lungs. thank you thank you thank you! and take care of yourselves!

Amazing 20.Mar.2008 17:15

QR istartedtheweb@gmail.com

It was an amazing success. I stayed until after the peace sign at the waterfront, and I found it a very empowering experience. I have been rumours, however, of two arrests; one on the balcony of City Hall, and the other on the sidewalk where the police attempted to stop the protest.

unified 20.Mar.2008 18:08

brandon casey

I really loved seeing how unified the protesters were today. There was such a community; as we got fined and arrested someone took a box and gathered hundreds of dollars in donations from all of us to pay for everyones tickets.

You are my inspiration! 20.Mar.2008 18:40

over 40 :)

I am two hours South and I wish I could've been there. These commnets sound like it was a great event. Could anyone present write about what happened? What were the arrests about? What was the peace sign?

inspirational 20.Mar.2008 19:30

Laura Roetker greenwonderwall@yahoo.com

I can honestly say that my voice is gone. Today was an amazing expierence and pretty close to the best protest/rally that I've been to. Even after the cops split the group up numerous times it ddidn't stop us. Even when the majoirty of the peope in that march had left a good 50 or so people stayed in the Park Blocks up by PSU then we later on went to the justice center waithing for them to let the people that they had arrested earlier on in the after noon. Even when we found out that the building was on lock down we left and waited util we heard the news that they were releasing out friends or in some cases like mine people that we had only met that day. One amazing thing that show how unified we were and how much we care for the people ho participated we all were able to raise money within the time span of and hour give or take a little to pay for people tickets the recieved from the police or to bail them out.[I guess this is ore of a review then a response but oh well]

P.S if you have ay footage or picture from today I'd appreciate if you could send them to  greenwonderwall@yahoo.com . I plan on putting together a video montage/mini movie type thing, and also people who just want to talk or has any information for future activites you can email me there also.

Police at the Hawthorne Bridge 20.Mar.2008 22:05

Random Adult

I noticed at the Hawthorne bridge there were about 20 police officers with night sticks and what looked like shotguns. They told all of the children/young adults that the bridge was closed but allowed adult joggers/cyclists through without comment. Also the bridge briefly raised then lowered again for no reason I can guess.

Does anyone know what was up? I am especially curious why they raised and lowered the bridge with no boats in sight.

Some of what went down 20.Mar.2008 22:45

Amit Gordon, High School Student and Activist amitgordon1@gmail.com

After us marchers had made it down to the waterfront, after a good deal of street taking (which is when things escalated a little with the police, although only in a few isolated incidents was there any serious confrontation), there was some talk about taking a bridge. This was probably being spread around by mostly inexperienced protesters, who were pumped up from taking the streets just moments previously. Student organizers, however, immediately dismissed the idea. As I wasn't at the Hawthorne bridge I don't know if anybody actually seriously considered it, but I assume that the police were just being safe. I believe that it was a fairly successful protest, at the very least more so than the one that took place this past Saturday. Don't believe what local news tells you about the numbers of students attending the rally, whether it be a vague "few hundred", or a more specific, INCREDIBLY FALSE "300" (although, there was a group of students reciting a Leonidas monologue at some point, so maybe reporters got confused?). From my perspective in the crowd, and various other people's perspectives there were at least a thousand students at the protest's strongest point. Given that more than 200 of those students came from Wilson High School (my hs) alone, and that there were large groups from many other Portland area high schools, both public and private, well, you can just extrapolate the numbers. I was generally impressed by how many people were motivated enough to walk out, and on top of that actually go to the protest and not use it as an excuse to go home early.

Jolly Good Show 21.Mar.2008 00:25

Helen, Wilson Student, there in spirit HDziuba@hotmail.com

I just wanted to congratulate you all for what you did. Wilson's administration sent out an email informing us that 200 students walked out; The funny thing? They were trying to condemn our actions by telling us this. It only made me proud to hear it. It was beautiful to see everyone out on the peace sign before leaving (Wilson has remnants of peace sign made of Marigolds in the courtyard, Students lined up along the scarred earth to recreate it). Way to go guys! And thank you for taking care of eachother. It's great that you looked after those who were arrested. Keep up the good work; hold on to that love. Our generation will need it desperately.

revised YouTube version <video> 21.Mar.2008 01:57

Joe Anybody


last minute of video in previous posting was removed for privacy reasons
longer version coming soon

<VIDEO> 21.Mar.2008 02:16

Joe Anybody iam@joe-anybody.com

"Part One" of a few videos still to come


this is the begining 10 minutes of the YOUTH WALKOUT AGAINST THE WAR

!wow! 21.Mar.2008 15:20


i just saw the most amazing thing!

i went downtown to get a hot dog from my buddy jonah, who works @ matlock's dogs by the courthouse by day and is a silscreening superhero by night. so there i am, eating a polish dog with the works and chewin the fat with my friend, when well over a thousand middle school kids come walking by screaming "WHAT DO WE WANT? PEACE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!" at the top of their adolescent lungs! the gale force of young voices united rang off the towers and brought tears of pride and joy to my eyes as i laughed out loud!

apparently five hundred middle schoolers walked out of their classrooms and converged on pioneer square, where they proceeded to call everybody they knew. soon there were kids from all portland school districts walking out. they filled the courtyard outside town hall and climbed the front of the building to the terrace before the police deterred them, and then stayed there til the mayor came out and spoke to them. they proceeded to wells fargo bank and filled that courtyard, then wound it back up towards the square.

their numbers dispersed a bit after cops grabbed a couple of boys and roughed 'em up around 3rd & salmon; one kid got hauled around by the hair in a full nelson that could have broken his wrist and the other got his face ground up against a curb. a crowd of adults and i stood across the street chanting "LET THEM GO! " for awhile to no avail; finally i shouted "let go of his hair you sicko! we're watching you!" and he did! he even turned and made eye contact with me! after that they put those two boys in separate cars. i couldn't get close enough to get badge numbers before the squad dispersed us. sorry, kid, i didn't want to get maced! if anybody else witnessed this, please please report it! those middle school kids posed no threat to fully armed police officers.

anyway, a surprising number of kids stuck it out after things got rough and they re-congregated in the pioneer courthouse square. i wondered why more adults were not joining them. overall, i would say it was more organized effective and orderly than many of the adult-organized demonstrations i've seen.

!way to go, kids!

mural in berkley or sf
mural in berkley or sf