3. What are some steps that can be taken to: work toward making
Bonner County a community where everyone feels valued, everyone feels
safe and everyone can thrive? CITY: work toward making Sandpoint a City
where everyone feels valued, everyone feels safe and everyone can
Partnering with law enforcement and health care organizations to develop programs and outreach supporting those experiencing mental illness in the community.
Making sure we adopt inclusive design in our infrastructure projects, and encourage it in private business.
We build Trust through strong communication and relationships, thus expanding on our opportunities by finding consensus and implementing sound practices. Much needs to be undertaken to address the growing inequality on multiple fronts. I believe we can find solutions as a community if we can be willing to meet in the middle with grace and dignity. It is on the individual to hold themselves to a higher standard. I hold myself to that standard without expectation of reciprocity.
Both at the county and city level, inclusivity initiatives should focus on:
Community Engagement: Regular town hall meetings where all voices are heard and valued, especially those from underrepresented communities.
Education: Collaborate with schools to emphasize the importance of human rights, respect, and understanding from an early age.
Law Enforcement Training: Ensure our police force is well-trained in understanding and managing biases, ensuring the safety of all citizens.
Public Awareness Campaigns: Promote values of respect, acceptance, and unity through various mediums, reinforcing Sandpoint's commitment to inclusivity.
As a city councilor I would reach out to the whole community when seeking input and engagement. This may mean accessing people in their safe spaces, and on their times, not just at a set bimonthly council meeting, or public workshop where the city chooses the time and place. Where language may be a disadvantage, then using translators, if disabilities, i.e. sight, hearing, physical, and/or mental issues are limiting involvement, then it would be necessary to accommodate those community members as they need. We need to learn about our community. Having the awareness of these obstacles will allow all to participate and feel valued and heard. Easy physical access to our city public parks and buildings is another thing to think of. I happened to notice the braille and options for hearing messages at an ATM the other day, these are accommodations many of us never think of. I say you “have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” to become aware! That was actually a curriculum I taught in elementary school. We are a generous community, so volunteering at non profits, donating to charities, our food bank and food drives will help others thrive. Our city is concerned with citizens who are housing burdened, either through high rent, or lack of available safe, secure homes to inhabit. Hopefully as we come together as a community to solve those problems socio-economic discrimination will wane.
Personal accountability for actions and conversations. Focus on respectful discussion when differences may exist. Most importantly, do to others what you would have them do to you.
Deb Fragoso Ruehle:
We continue to denounce groups that have an agenda of hate. We protect every citizen equally.
I feel we can showcase our acceptance more by talking about how we were the first town in Idaho to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. I was the one who testified for this at City Council. Others were too afraid to show up. Everyone deserves equal treatment.