After a series of protests at Forest Grove High school and surrounding schools Thursday, MHS students organized a walk-out demonstration Friday morning to demonstrate solidarity with Forest Grove and support the acceptance of all ethnicities at Mac High.

On Thursday morning, a banner with the words “build a wall” was posted at Forest Grove HS, prompting hundreds of students to walk out of school and protest racially insensitive and threatening messages like the poster. After this protest, students from Hillsboro High decided to show solidarity with Forest Grove and walk the 9 miles between the schools while carrying signs and chanting about racial inequality.

Thursday night, Mac High students used Twitter to express their views on patriotism, racial justice, and other related issues. Many showed support for the protesters, while others responded to the issue by proposing stricter immigration laws and less equality and respect for immigrants. These tweets increased in intensity, resulting in concerns from the administration about school safety and gun violence.

In response to both the events in the Portland suburb schools Thursday and the racially intolerant comments expressed on Twitter, almost 500 Mac High students participated in a walk-out Friday morning during 4th period.  “The reason I participated in the peaceful protest wasn’t because I felt I was threatened but because there were other students that did,” said participating student Junior Bautista, “Those students who were worried and rightfully so should be shown that there are others willing to offer and hand to comfort them in troubling times.” These students, as well as a group from Patton Middle School, marched downtown with signs in order to protest inequality at local high schools, and they stopped for a brief rally in front of the District Office. Many Mac High students spoke about the importance of diversity at the rally, and superintendent Maryalice Russell spoke to the crowd about the district’s plans to promote racial unity at Mac High. After the rally, the district posted a news article explaining the protest, and included the same article in Spanish, demonstrating its effort to be inclusive.

The students who participated wanted to demonstrate their support for the students who protested inequality at Forest Grove and point out how racial justice is an issue in McMinnville as well. “It’s upsetting that we have to resort to walkabouts to make people feel accepted, but if that’s what it takes, that is what must be done,” said Bautista, “At the end of the day we’re all humans living on the same earth and we need to learn to love a little more.”