Bend’s new Human Rights and Equity Commission meets officially for the first time Wednesday.
If the commission is going to matter, if it’s going to make a difference, if it’s going come up with recommendations that reflect the community to improve city goals and policies, it needs the community to get involved.
This first meeting is, well, probably not going to be terribly exciting. It’s more about setting up the rules for how the committee will operate. City staff also must ensure the people appointed to the commission understand Oregon’s laws about open meetings and open records. First things, first.
But there could be beginnings of discussions about what issues or priorities the commission will or should take on to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.
The commission was established to advise the Bend City Council on an action plan and provide input to the city on goals and policies. It’s also supposed to work with other groups and individuals. And it is going to be a place where people who can go to find resolution and assistance for complaints regarding discrimination. The commission does not have the authority “to compel participation, require specific actions, or impose economic sanctions or other penalties.”
What are some issues that the commission should take on and what should it prioritize? The commission can make lots of recommendations. To create any real change would take a community effort.
More information about the commission is available at tinyurl.com/BendHREC.