Although there has been no official announcement by OHA or Kate Brown, many people believe that it is only a matter of time until students will be required to have the Covid vaccine. California has already announced that as soon as the vaccine has full FDA approval, it will be a requirement for both public and private school children. With that in mind, a couple of moms got together and planned on holding a protest at the Bend La-Pine school district office, to discourage any such requirement in the future.
Corrine owns Salud Raw Food in Bend, and she is one of the event organizers for Shoes on the Steps. Corrine first began to fight against vaccines mandates back in 2019. The Oregon legislature was working on House Bill 3063, which would have removed the ability of parents to claim a religious exemption on vaccinations.
Corrine attended the protest outside the capital in Salem where hundreds of other people stood with her to fight against this bill. Even though it passed in the House, and it should have easily passed through the Senate. A few brave Republican senators went into hiding and denied them a quorum. In order to get Republicans to return, Democratic senators had to table a few bills on the agenda and HB 3063 was one. Corrine and her fellow protestors worked long and hard to fight against this bill, which proved successful as it never made it to the Senate for a vote.
As of October 29th 2021, the FDA has approved the Covid vaccine for emergency use in children 5 through 11. With this approval, Corrine knew that it was time to fight again. The protest against HB 3063 made an impact in stopping that bill and she wanted to create another protest that could show the district and the community that there will be many people that don’t support future vaccine requirements.
It is also an opportunity to once again speak out against the forced mandate regarding masking the kids while they are in school. “Since they have not made the vaccine a mandate for schools at this point, the fight is also about getting these kids out of masks and letting them breathe freely again.” For this protest, they decided to use shoes as a symbol of all the students that the school district would lose, if they decided on imposing a vaccine requirement. Once the event is over, they will also be donating those shoes to a local shelter.
There is currently a plethora of required vaccines for children to attend school. Corrine stated “that is true, but these vaccines are a different beast. There has been no long-term testing, and she doesn’t trust the companies that currently have COVID vaccines.” We also can assume that if parents want to exclude their children with the religious or medical exemption, that they will be required to submit to testing, which is not a solution many people would be on board with.
In preparation for this event, one of the Co-organizers reached out to Luke Richter at the Central Oregon Peacekeepers to see if they had any suggestions for making the event a success. She was unaware of this group at the time, but found them while researching and saw that they are dedicated to the safety of the Central Oregon activist community.