On Sept. 29, seven Pacific University students decided they needed to respond to the sexual assault accusations surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Five days later, they held a rally.
“We really wanted to empower people,” senior Grace Peketz, one of the students who organized the event said.
Peketz and the other four student organizers created the We Believe Survivors Rally because they felt as though the Kavanaugh hearings made students on campus feel helpless. They purposefully included as few faculty and staff as possible to foster community among students.
The idea started at a summit of diversity focused groups on campus, according to organizers. Over the course of five days, the group delegated tasks over Facebook Messenger to secure the University Center patio, set up speakers and run the event.
About 30 students attended the rally according to Peketz. Students listened to speeches from campus group leaders and Dean of Students Will Perkins. The rally also provided students with the opportunity to contact their senators, register to vote and send supportive messages to Christine Blasey Ford, who testified against Kavanaugh for sexual assault.
The event’s organizers feel they could have had a better turn out if they had given themselves more time to advertise. Despite the small attendance, organizers said they were happy with the results.
“Even if we influence one person’s experience today, it’s still worth it,” senior Olivia Barrows, another of the event’s organizers, said. “Even if it’s a low turnout, I feel like it was really meaningful for everyone here.”