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A student group left 180 trash bags in front of the AZ Capitol. Here's why

By Kirsten Dorman
Published: Monday, January 16, 2023 - 10:29am

members of Support Equality in Arizona Schools participate in a demonstration; a group of counter protestors stands across the street
Cole Dunnett
Members of Support Equality in Arizona Schools participate in a demonstration at the state Capitol while a group of counter protestors stands across the street.

Support Equality in Arizona Schools is an LGBTQ advocacy group made up of high school students. Last week, they laid 180 trash bags outside the state Capitol. Dawn Chim, the group’s founder, says each bag represents 10,000 LGBTQ youths in America who contemplate suicide each year.

“Our peers are dying, and our legislators are complicit in that,” Chim said. “It feels like we have to keep doing this. Otherwise, someone who is close to me might die.”

Chim, 17, says the group wanted legislators to see a representation of the harm bills that infringe on LGBTQ rights can cause.

“These kids are dying,” Chim said. “Like, I don’t know how to make it resonate with you more.”

Hayden Nguyen, also 17, handles the group’s social media and logistics. Even though they aren’t old enough to vote yet, he says anyone their age can make a difference.

“A very public display like that, it just is about being seen,” Nguyen said. “By the public and by those who are voters.”

He says as young people and activists, it can sometimes be frustrating.

“Sure, we may be the future,” Nguyen said, “but how many of us are going to be alive to see that future?”

While Chim and other members of the group are not yet eligible to vote, they hope their voices can be heard, and adults can make changes now.

Gender Social Justice