More than 300 community members march for peace, love and diversity in Lake Oswego

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Quinn Connell proudly displays his sign as walkers head out from George Rogers Park during Friday's community march to promote love, peace and diversity in Lake Oswego. REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Ethan Howell displays his light-up message during Friday's walk in downtown Lake Oswego.Lake Grove Elementary School fifth-graders Sevyn Watson and Natalie Foss marched side-by-side Friday night, carrying signs that read “Kindness matters” and “Be the light.”

The girls were among more than 300 children and adults from Lake Oswego and surrounding communities who took part in a peaceful walk in response to reports of racism at Lake Oswego High School and the national political climate.

“It should be a world of love, not a world of hate,” Sevyn said.

Natalie agreed: “Lake Oswego stands for love,” she said.

The group met at George Rogers Park and marched along sidewalks to Millennium Plaza Park, carrying balloons, handing out candy and holding up signs with positive messages.

Lake Oswego resident Amy Waterbury, who organized the walk with five other local moms, said the movement started with an email she sent to her friends after hearing reports of student racism in Lake Oswego. She wanted to find a way to celebrate love and diversity, and to help her kids process what was happening around them.

“I wanted it to be focused on spreading love and compassion, and anyone who wants to do that no matter who they’re voting for,” she says. “I wanted it to be unifying and not dividing.”

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Natalie Foss (right) and Sevyn Watson make their feelings known during Friday evening's walk through downtown Lake Oswego.REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Joel West listens to speakers at Millennium Plaza Park after walking with more than 300 children and adults through downtown Lake Oswego to promote love, peace and diversity.REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sasha Watson of Lake Oswego picks out a sign to carry in Friday's walk to promote peace, love and diversity. Waterbury and her friends launched an “LO for LOve” Facebook page and worked with the City and Lake Oswego Police Department to ensure that the walk would be peaceful and positive.

Another organizer, Jenny Foss, said she hoped the walk would be part of a continuing conversation to encourage “children and adults to celebrate things and people that are different, and how that makes this town better,” she said. “There’s not any space to look at others as ‘less than.’”

Walkers’ handmade signs declared messages such as “Love wins,” “Words do matter” and “Hate free — that’s me.”

When the group reached Millennium Plaza Park, members chanted “Love not hate,” and Waterbury held up her megaphone to address the crowd.

“What we don’t want is for people to go home now and say, ‘OK, I’ve done something,’” she said. “We really hope this is the beginning of something more.”

The organizers offered everyday ways to promote love and diversity, such as showing compassion and kindness to others; interrupting and reporting mean-spirited conversations; and contacting school administrators to emphasize that schools should be welcoming for all students.

City Councilor Jon Gustafson called the turnout “fantastic,” and said he would like to see the walk become an annual event.

“It’s so great to see so many fresh faces, especially young ones,” he said. “It really is representative of the Lake Oswego I know.”

Contact Kelsey O’Halloran at 503-636-1281 ext. 101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - State Rep. Ann Lininger joins more than 300 children and adults for a walk to promote peace, love and diversity. 'We reject anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia in our community,' Lininger says.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Samarra Watson, a 2016 Lake Oswego High School graduate, creates her sign for Friday's walk.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Keri Bloom (right) and other walkers wave their signs to passing motorists, who honked in support of Friday's march.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego City Councilor Jon Gustafson and Councilor-elect Theresa Kohlhoff head out from George Rogers Park during Friday evening's walk for peace, love and diversity.

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