BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors are expected to sign a proclamation, Wednesday, denouncing bullying and hate crimes. Michael Funke, with the group “Building Common Ground,” helped draft the statement. He tells KBND News, "The Council recognizes that when people stand silently by and allow these things to happen that more intolerance and hatred and violence can occur. And, across the nation, people have successfully stood up against racist and anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic bigotry and things of that nature. And, that here in Bend, no one should be discriminated against because of race, faith, ethnicity, national origin, legal status, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other real or perceived difference." It’s modeled after similar proclamations issued by other cities through a national movement called “Not in Our Town.”
Click HERE to read the full proclamation.
Hate crimes and bullying are, of course, not new. But Funke says there was a significant spike in incidents in Central Oregon, following the November election. "You can’t just hide from this stuff, I don’t think. You have to acknowledge that it’s happening and you have to stand up and say that we think it’s wrong that this is happening, and stand with the people who are being harassed and bullied," says Funke. "And, it’s not a law. You can’t legislate, necessarily, human behavior. But, you can certainly say that these kinds of things have no place in our schools or in our community." A handful of Bend residents who have recently experienced harassment are expected to speak at tonight’s City Council meeting.
He hopes the proclamation will raise awareness, locally. "Those of us who are involved these activities will utilize the proclamation moving forward in a variety of ways yet to be determined, depending on what the need is. But, basically try and create a safer environment for people, a safer community for people. Which, I would assume is the goal of everybody in our community – that we have a community that provides a safe environment for everybody."