The Task Force submitted questions to each of the candidates in the upcoming election. Here's the reply from Shannon Mitchell, candidate for Sandpoint City Council.
1. The mission of the BCHRTF is to affirm the American principles and ideals of the inviolable dignity and worth of each human being. Who do you think experiences the most discrimination in our community? Is it discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status or disability (including mental illness)?
Although I believe all of the above suffer from discrimination, probably race is the most targeted.
2. The BCHRTF was established in 1992 to confront the growing challenges of white supremacist organizations and activities in our around Bonner County. To what extent do you think that challenge exists today? Is this still a challenge—or should the TF say ‘mission accomplished?
This mission will never be accomplished as it takes ongoing dilligence to confront and ongoing effort to educate the public against discriminatory practices. It's a necessary ongoing mission.
3. What do you think can be done to counter the reputation that North Idaho has, nationwide, as a haven for racists and white nationalists?
North Idaho needs to take an intolerance to hate crimes stance. We also should welcome diverse speakers, business people, and figureheads as an illustration of cultural welcome and support.
4. How does this reputation affect the lives of those of us who live here? How does this reputation affect our community’s ability to attract potential employees and visitors?
The youth here may unwillingly be identified with something the past has defined (why education is so important). Potential employees and visitors should not have to feel race or cultural differences determine their decision to feel safe in North Idaho.
5. How important do you think it is to work toward making Sandpoint a community where everyone feels valued, everyone feels safe and everyone can thrive?
It is essential. The opposite is a Sandpoint I would not be proud of.
6. Do you feel that has been achieved, and if not, what stands in the way?
I believe we are achieving it slowly, but still have a long way to go.
7. If you are elected, what is the first step you would take toward making the above vision a reality?
I would reach out to your organization, since this is your wheel house and you have already done the research, and ask to collaborate and plan together on these subjects.