Portlanders rally behind Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban for attending school

The case of Malala Yousafzai has captured headlines all over the world, and now in Portland, Mayor Michael Brennan wants to make sure her battle isn’t overlooked.

Brennan declared today “Malala Yousafzai Day” in honor of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot on Oct. 9 by the Taliban for being outspoken about the need for more educational opportunities for girls.

Candles are lit in front of a portrait of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot on October 9 by the Taliban, during a candlelight vigil organized by Nepalese Youth in Kathmandu Oct. 15, 2012. Yousufzai, 14, who was shot by Taliban gunmen for pushing for girls to be educated, has been sent to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

Yousafzai was reportedly targeted by the Taliban after she brazenly continued to attend school despite the group’s order that all females in Swat Valley, Pakistan, stop trying to learn new things.

In celebration of Brennan’s declaration, the members of the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus, a group of 30 refugee girls from 15 countries now attending Portland schools, planned to record a song dedicated to the Pakistani teen.

Yousafzai was flown to a hospital in Birmingham, England, where doctors reportedly removed a bullet from her skull and where she is now responding well to treatment, according to the BBC, among others.

Said Brennan in a statement:

Portland has worked hard to become a safe haven for those seeking escape from war and famine and it is fitting that today as the girls of Pihcuntu gather to sing in honor of a young girl whose bravery has captured the world’s attention that their community stand up and join them in this effort by honoring the courage and bravery of Malala Yousafzai.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.