For years Central Oregon has been trying to have a parade during “Pride Month” as a show of visibility for the marginalized groups here in Central Oregon. This public display of support would allow organizations who help these groups of people to be visible and the community members to know where they can go in the area to be safe and find the available resources meant to assist them. Discouragingly, City Council has not been enthusiastic about assisting with this. We were made aware that they could allow for a Pride Parade to take place, yet they just brush it and this community aside for festivals that promote drinking and recreation instead. This parade supports the diversity and inclusion that they market themselves on and addresses equality and social justice concerns that should take a front seat when it comes to community issues. For 14 years this has been an issue with a wide range of excuses starting at the permit level. We were told that Pride weekend 2019, the streets are available but since they are shutting the streets down 2 times that month that we would need to go to City Council for them to approve a 3rd closure. This runaround isn’t new- it’s been a theme for several years and it needs to stop. We have seen suicides in this community caused by people in our area not knowing they are supported and not knowing there are, in fact, resources to help them, our youth is afraid to be themselves and community members who grew up here flee to more accepting cities as soon as they are able. Diverse communities are sent the message that they are invisible and unappreciated. Our City Council needs to stop ignoring the problems and hardships that we face here and take a stand to address it. We finally got them to acknowledge Pride Month this past June, which is exciting, but behind the times as Pride Month has been a staple in other cities for many years. Being the fastest growing community in the State of Oregon and the 6th fastest growing in the nation, we must show that these issues are important and that we stand on the forefront of creating a diverse and inclusive community- lip service isn’t enough.