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Recent school board ban on BLM, Pride displays to be discussed in Zoom meeting

Lost in the political and legal furor of the past month's discussion around the Newberg school board has been the voices of students. Now, Newberg residents hope to change that narrative and give a platform to students so they can share their thoughts on the board's recent ban on Black Lives Matter and Pride displays.

At 2 p.m. Saturday via Zoom, local students will share their perspectives on the issue. The event was organized by community members Tai Harden-Moore and Erin McCarthy, both of whom have been outspoken critics of the ban.

"The school board's recent ban has already caused harm in our community," Harden-Moore said in a press release. "To truly understand the harm that has already been caused and the potential harm to come if the policy actually goes into effect and is implemented, we must listen to students and their voices have not been centered in these discussions, though they should be because they are the most affected by this racist and discriminatory policy."

Harden-Moore is the parent of a Newberg High School student and McCarthy erected large plywood Pride and BLM flags on her Parrett Mountain property in view of the high school. Both not only oppose the ban but have been making an effort to engage the community on the issue, particularly Harden-Moore as a former school board candidate and politically active person.

"The 4-3 decision of the Newberg school board to ban BLM and PRIDE symbols in Newberg schools prompted me to place these signs on my property because the board's decision is wrong and I wanted to do something to support our students that the community supports them," McCarthy said in the release.

The goal of the listening sessions is to provide an opportunity for students to share how the ban impacts their school experience, especially when many are already dealing with the stresses of returning to full-time, in-person learning while the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic remain uncertain.

Among the more than two-dozen speakers on the issue, one student was allowed to speak at the Aug. 10 school board meeting when the BLM/Pride ban was initially voted on.

"It is so hard to hear students voice their fears and frustration and the ban and what is going on in the community," Harden-Moore said. "We want to provide a safe space for students to share their thoughts and feelings without fear."

The listening session will occur on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86360460151. Those interested in joining the meeting can also enter the meeting ID on the Zoom app, which is 863 6046 0151.


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