Protest Becomes Peace Fest

By Jeremiah Stymacks

What was anticipated as a hateful protest turned into a celebration of peace and love the morning of Thursday, September 9,  when Niles West students stood up for what they believed in against the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Westboro Babtist Church protesters tried to spread their message of disapproval of Jewish faith and homosexual practice, and the students counter protested with opposing messages of unity and tolerance. The students also seemed to enjoy their time by singing together and remaining calm.

“I came here to protest against the Baptist Church and to support my fellow gay students,” said senior Sarah Hernandez.

Hernandez was one of many students who said they came to the event to support a tolerant community.

Principal Kaine Osburn said he was pleased that the protest turned into something more positive.

“While I and the administration were worried that extremists might put our students in danger the kids of Niles West showed themselves and the community how to stand up and role model real democratic action,” he said.  “Action that is for something as opposed to action that is only meant to demean someone.  I have never been prouder of our kids than on that morning, but I cannot say I am surprised.”

For further coverage, please view our videos and photo gallery of the protest.