BEND, OR -- A local woman with a diverse ethnic background is trying to grow a support group for minorities and increase community awareness. Robin Gyorgyfalvy with the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District is hosting a "Cross Cultural Awareness Storyteller Series" meeting Tuesday night, on the topics of diversity and bullying in Central Oregon.
The keynote speaker is Kecia Kubota, Executive Director of Camp Fire Central Oregon and a native of Hawaii. "We're trying to bring different perspectives, bring cultural perspective and sensitivity in our community and especially in the workplace," Gyorgyfalvy tells KBND News.
Last year, six speakers from diverse backgrounds presented during the storyteller series, part of the local HAPA'EA group created by the Forest Service. Gyorgyfalvy says she sees a lack of perspective on discrimination, as minorities make up a small percentage of the Central Oregon population.
"Someone who's part of our HAPA'EA local chapter told me that I'm the first person he's friends with who's not white," Gyorgyfalvy says. "There's not that much exposure. And when you see someone who's different from you, it's hard to go up to them and try to learn about them."
Gyorgyfalvy is a native of Hawaii, with a Japanese-Korean background. During World War II, her mother was held in a Japanese-American internment camp. Gyorgyfalvy says it's something not all of her coworkers can understand or relate to. She originally started the storyteller series as a way to bring people together, mainly adults in the community, and talk about the many issues of ethnic diversity. Gyorgyfalvy says it's a non-threatening way to hold discussions on important societal topics, and is a format for other minorities to feel connected.
"I think people all of a sudden feel like they have support, a community of support, and when they have this happen to them, they don't feel singled out," she says. "They can say, 'Well, there's someone I can talk to who can help me sort [issues] out and hopefully resolve them.'"
The meeting takes place from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District Office, off of Deschutes Market Road.