“As elected leaders of the City of Bend, we are heartbroken and angry by the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota. We are dismayed that the pattern of racist actions, and the killing of black Americans and people of color by people sworn to protect and serve, persists.
While we may feel hopeful as we see our community come together to stand up for racial justice, there is also a collective sense of anger that it has to take these horrific events for real change to occur. Why are we so disconnected as a society, not hearing or seeing each other? Why do we have to be so divisive in staking out our positions vs. doing the hard work to find common ground and a path forward?
We are committed to a process of deep self-reflection and active listening so we can make the necessary changes and take the necessary actions to truly make Bend an inclusive and welcoming city for all. We condemn white supremacy and acknowledge that racism and oppression are systemic and that we all have a responsibility to be engaged and informed on these issues.
Communities of color should feel safe and know their lives matter. But it is more than that – they should feel and be included, empowered and embraced.
As we watch and react to national news, it is also important to collectively embrace the efforts and structure being put in place in our city of Bend. We recognize we have much to learn as an organization (and as individuals), and this past week has certainly reminded us all of the significant amount of work needed to bring our community together and create change, starting at the local level. We are committed to this organizational and individual learning and change.