BEND, OR -- Embrace Bend is talking diversity during this election season. The new community organization formed in November, to "embrace all cultures, races religions, genders, socio economic groups, and sexual orientations in Bend," according to the group's website. They'll host a candidate forum, Thursday evening, so voters can learn more about where those running for local office stand on the issues of inclusion and equity.
Megan Perkins, with Embrace Bend, tells KBND News equality is important in all aspects of living in Bend, "We need to make sure that the people that want to be on the school board, and the COCC board, and the Parks and Recreation board understand that all kids need to be treated the same way at school and our kids need to be given the support that they need to succeed." She believes most inequality in Bend is inadvertent; but it does happen. Perkins tells KBND News those who serve in positions of power, like the school board, have the power to change things, "We really need to start making an effort for teachers to get the training they need and to educate students, and just diversify our curriculum. We want to work on moving forward."
Thursday's forum starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Bend Environmental Center on Kansas Ave. Click HERE for details. Perkins wants people to be ready to participate, "We're hoping that people will ask some really tough questions to make sure that these candidates understand that this is something they can't really ignore anymore, and that they really need to focus on if they do get elected." She adds, "Feel free to come and listen, and if a question strikes you, we will make sure you get to ask that question. Obviously, we're trying to keep all the questions in the realm of inclusion and diversity in Bend and the surrounding areas."
This candidate forum is co-hosted by the Restorative Justice and Equity Group.