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NewsChannel 21 talks with participants in recent Prineville protests

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ )-- Black Lives Matter protests in Prineville have sparked more agitation and unrest than any other city in Central Oregon, but participants still say the conversation regarding race is necessary.

Teirra Bilbruck who was born and raised in Prineville in the late '70s. She told NewsChannel 21 that her family and friends still remain in Prineville, and she is still active in the community.

Bilbruck attended the first protest against police brutality in Prineville, almost two weeks ago, and says even though she feels racism is still in the area, she can see the growth in the community.

"I was proud to be there. Prineville doesn't have a lot of people of color," Bilbruck said. "I was proud to show that I am a person of color and that I live there. Even though it's a small town, we're here, and we hear you."'

Bilbruck recently became better-known after an interview she had with the Prineville police chief went viral. Even though there were differing opinions at the protests, she feels it's important the conversation continues, so change can happen.

"In the school system, I would like there to be more mental health for the kids, people they feel they can go to and trust, and go to if something is going on," Bilbruck said.

She also had questions about safety involving the Prineville Police Department and how the officers are being trained when dealing with people of color.

She posed the question of whether officers feel like an incident becomes a crisis when confronting a situation with a person of color. Bilbruck met and continued this discussion with the mayor of Prineville, who she said asked her why the protest have come to Prineville.

"I explained to him why not? We're a small community, but we want a voice, too. We want people to know that people of color, we stand with them."

Terri Stephens shared her opinions with NewsChannel 21 on the protests and actions she's noticed across the nation.

"I think we are supposed to love each other, no matter what color or race or where we are from,' Stephens said. "We are also supposed to respect each other's property as well. I've seen burning of the flags and I think that it is very sad."

Bilbruck says she believes the Prineville protests became aggressive at certain times because people in the area were misinformed.

"Coming from Prineville, I know it was initially because they were nervous. They thought their businesses were going to be harmed and there was a lot of things that were going to happen," Bilbruck said.

"It was more that they were just scared, uninformed. When certain things got out, it made it worse, and trying to explain to them we're peaceful, we are just trying to have our voices heard."

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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