I’m the person who started the Black Lives Matter protests in La Grande. I’m in seventh grade at La Grande Middle School. As I told The Observer, I woke up one morning, saw the news and saw that there were protests all over the country. I thought there was no reason we shouldn’t have a rally here.

I have always thought that everyone should be treated equally regardless of things they can’t control (gender, race, sexual orientation, class, etc.). I learned this behavior at a very young age from my parents and just seeing it everywhere; I lived in New York until I was 9 and it was always very apparent to me there. So I try to live that behavior all that I can by organizing events like our Black Lives Matter rally.

La Grande doesn’t have as much diversity as some other places so it makes me think about — and we all should think about — how hard it is to be in a minority here. I believe we all need to treat people who are out of the mainstream equally and fairly.

I am planning to pursue social equity issues in my free time, in school and after I graduate. I’m also invested in creating events for our community. Like, some of my friends and I would like to organize a pride parade in the future.

I hope that our community can come together to support inclusion and fairness for everyone, even when it is not a trending hashtag.

Miri Koltuv

La Grande

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