Amira Garewal × November 15, 2016

Over 100 Palo Alto High School students participated in a peace march through the rain from Paly campus to Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto during flex period on Nov. 15.

As it began to rain, a crowd filled the Paly quad holding pride flags and signs with phrases such as “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” and “No Human is Illegal”.

Paly junior and co-organizer Hana Morita introduced the march and spoke before the crowd in a short speech.

“Martin Luther King once said that our lives will begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter,” Morita said. “Our success today will be coming together to show that we will support each other. That we will not be bystanders and we will not tolerate acts of hate. We must remain unified, show compassion and respect everybody.”

Paly protesters arrived at Lytton Plaza, where other students from Gunn High School, Castilleja School, Stanford University and other members of the community joined the crowd.  The event featured students speakers on topics of LGBT rights, immigrant rights, religious rights, and women’s rights.

Additionally, folk singer and activist Joan Baez shared her experience of striving for equal rights since she graduated from Palo Alto High School and throughout the Civil Rights movement.

“I was at the Martin Luther King rally, the big one in 1963,” Baez said. “I was at most of the anti-Vietnam rallies. I was involved in rallies against nuclear weapons—I’ve been around for a while.”

Baez finds the rally a reminder of the progress that the nation has made throughout recent years.

“I keep weeping,” Baez said. “It’s very exciting, and it’s very beautiful to see kids doing this.”

“It’s very exciting, and it’s very beautiful to see kids doing this.”

—Joan Baez, folk singer and political activist

The community came together with a goal of unity and acceptance through songs, chants and cheers.  Paly junior and co-organizer Zoe Stedman feels proud of the outcome of this community event.

“People, mostly youth, used their voices for good and made themselves heard in a peaceful manner, and were still able to demand rights and equality,” Stedman said. “It truly was a beautiful thing to see.”

Verde broadcast the protest live on Facebook.