▶️ Bend councilor defends pledge stance; local reaction mixed

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Bend City Councilor Gena Goodman-Campbell says she sat during the pledge of allegiance at last night’s city council meeting as a statement of solidarity with protesters in Bend and across the world, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s, I think, honestly the least I can do,” Goodman-Campbell said.

The councilor says she had been thinking about what she could do to show her solidarity with protestors for a few days.

As the pledge of Allegiance was read during Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting, she remained seated.

“I definitely respect those words in the pledge of Allegiance, and especially the part about “Liberty and Justice for All”, she said. “I really didn’t feel like I could say those words with the respect they deserve when black Americans are continuing to have their lives stolen by racism.”

We hit the streets of Bend to get some reaction.

“I feel that it’s her right and her responsibility to express how she feels about this,” said a Bend resident.

“It’s awesome that she’s doing that,” said another. “I support anytime somebody wants to join the protests.

But online, comments range from expressing the desire to vote her out, to having her resign.

“‘If she won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance than [sic] she has no business being in a public position,’ Robin Ann Sallee wrote.

‘People need to start voting these people out of office,’ Melodie Thielbar wrote.

Mayor Sally Russell says that while the pledge is inspirational for her, she recognizes it means something different for everyone.

“I think it’s indicative of all the conversations that we are having, and we need to continue to have with our community,” Russell said. “We need to make really solid, grounded, lasting, healthy decisions for our community going forward.”

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