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In response to recent bans of LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter symbols in Newberg, Gresham football dials up the support

PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS - An LGBTQ pride banner and flag hang from the spectator section at a Gresham High School football game Friday, Oct. 15. Gresham High School boasted an LGBTQ pride awareness theme for its football game Friday, Oct. 15 against Portland's Jefferson High School.

Since the Newberg School District recently banned pride and Black Lives Matter flags and symbols, schools have reacted by hosting pride-themed football games. Gresham students in charge of organizing games said the goal was to protest Newberg's ban.

One Gresham High student called Newberg's ban on pride and social justice statements, "pretty stupid," while other spectators at Friday's game appreciated the theme.

Students, parents, and faculty alike that showed up were in agreement about their feelings toward Friday night's theme.

PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS - Spectators hold up an LGBTQ pride flag during a football game at Gresham High School Friday, Oct. 15. The pride themed game was in response to recent bans of pride and Black Lives Matter flags in Newberg School District. "I think it's really nice to be all inclusive of everybody," said Ashley Spencer, parent of a Gresham High School student. "I know that when it comes to pride week, it's not necessarily for one type of sexual orientation. It's incorporating everybody."

Despite the love from spectators in the crowd, Friday night's game had more of a parent turnout than student. Walter Castillo, campus security monitor at Gresham High, said he suspects as the season comes to an end, less students tend to show up.

"I would have hoped for more but I think it's cold and I don't think it has anything to do with the theme," Gresham High School Principal, Drake Shelton, said when asked about the game's low turnout and small student section.

Spotted among the crowd were students wearing Trump flags, thought to be protesting the theme. Although there were differing opinions, the night remained peaceful.

This story is possible because of Amplify, a community storytelling initiative of Pamplin Media Group and Care Oregon. Amplify supports internships for high school journalists in the Portland metro region and aims to elevate the voices of student journalists from historically underrepresented groups, such as communities of color, low-income residents and others.


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