Speakers at event honoring students have powerful message of uni - KPTV - FOX 12

Speakers at event honoring students have powerful message of unity: 'We can come together'

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Mariamou Abdoulaye (KPTV) Mariamou Abdoulaye (KPTV)

The City of Portland continues to come to grip with the tragic attack on a MAX train that rocked the community and the nation.

Now, for many, the difficult conversation about the horror that unfolded last Friday is just beginning.

On Wednesday, key speakers at a Young, Gifted and Black ceremony, an event honoring the success of black students throughout Portland Public Schools, said it's important to discuss the tragic murders that happened.

“Portland and Oregon, we need you to stand up and make sure we stop things like this from happening again. You got to speak out, talk, communicate and bring each other together,” said key note speaker, Dr. Darryl Tukufu.

People of all backgrounds, religions and races came together for the Young, Gifted and Black ceremony.

"I'm proud to be a Muslim, I'm proud to be black, and I'm proud to be a Muslim in a hijab," said Mariamou Abdoulaye.

Abdoulaye is one of the young students that was honored Wednesday night, but her mind was on a much bigger message.

"This is really important, coming here and seeing all these people, you know, different culture, it makes me feel like I'm welcome, I'm at home, and I want to see more of that," Abdoulaye said.

She says events like the one on Wednesday are vital now more than ever for the City of Portland.

"Seeing people getting hurt, people who look like me from the same neighborhood, people who go to school with me, it's kind of hard," said Abdoulaye. "We came to this country to have freedom, for education, and why do we have to be treated like this?"

Abdoulaye says she knows the young women who were targeted on the MAX train.

"We just need to pray for them and try to be there for them. They need us the most right now, the need to community the most," said Abdoulaye.

And she has a message for young women who look and dress like her.

"You should not give up your religion because someone is trying to harm you," said Abdoulaye. "A lot of people are taking their hijab off. They’re scared to go outside, to be Muslim. What I’m saying is go, be a Muslim, that’s who you are."

"We can come together no matter what our race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etcetera, we can come together," said Dr. Tukufu.

Many of those words about unit and strength from students and key note speakers at Wednesdays event can be found at the growing memorial at the Hollywood Transit Center.

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