(Update: Adding video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- The city of Bend has made some changes to its annual Welcoming Week, coming up this fall, amid renewed focus nationwide on the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Since 2017, Bend has been recognized as a Welcoming City, to support and celebrate its immigrant and refugee members of the community.
This year, Bend has enhanced this week of unity to include minorities and people of color in the community as well. Welcoming Week will take place from Sept. 11-20, with events throughout to celebrate a “spirit of unity.”
There are many ways to get involved in these events and for all community members to be involved, including the hashtag #IWelcome and #WelcomingWeek on social media outlets.
Makayla Oliver, the city's community relations manager, talked with NewsChannel 21 on Friday about how important it is to make all residents of Bend feel like an important part of the community.
“The city of Bend has goals this year for diversity, equity and inclusion," Oliver said. "We are really trying to ingrain that in everything we do and all of our departments. "
"Welcoming Week is just a very small piece of the puzzle. Being a Welcoming City, we see as being a constant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job. We want to make sure all of our community members are welcomed in Bend.”
Oliver said due to COVID-19, there will be new regulations for organizations who want to host events in person. Organizations will have to adhere to state guidelines and ensure social distancing is maintained.
Applications to host an event are open until July 17, and a scheduled list of the events should be available in mid-August on the city's website, at https://www.bendoregon.gov/welcomingweek.
Organizations also will be able to apply for a grant up to $500 for their event.