Stroll the sun-soaked streets of Bend on any ol’ day and you’ll see friendly smiles, inviting shops, and cheerful signs welcoming you to our outdoor oasis.
But during Bend’s annual Welcoming Week celebration, the spotlight shines brighter on our town’s metaphorical welcome mat. From September 9-18, folks from all backgrounds come together to celebrate the benefits of being inclusive and inviting to all.
Sounds nice, right? Here’s what you should know about Welcoming Week 2022 in Bend, Oregon.
What’s Welcoming Week?
First, can we take a sec to notice how friendly it feels to say the phrase Welcoming Week? Try it. Smiling yet?
While you may not have heard, Welcoming Week is an annual event in its tenth year at national level. Locally speaking, Bend’s Welcoming Week has been a thing for roughly five years with events, activities, and a community celebration of welcoming and inclusive spaces.
Bend Welcoming Week 2022 looks to further connect immigrants and refugees to the communities where they live and play. It’s about forging strong connections and affirming the value of inclusion and diversity. This year’s theme is “Where we belong,” which perfectly captures the spirit of Bend.
With a packed agenda spanning September 9-18, Bend’s Welcoming Week includes interactive workshops, community meals, multicultural art exhibitions, educational lectures, and much more.
The Welcoming Week Kickoff Celebration takes place at the Latino Community Association from 5-8 p.m. on September 9 and features immigrant community members speaking about how the Bend community embraced them upon arrival.
As the week rolls on, participants can enjoy events like the September 13 Peace Service at Trinity Episcopal Church and sponsored by the Interfaith Network of Central Oregon. The service will include live music and speakers from varied faith organizations sharing messages of peace and inclusion.
You can also expand your knowledge of legal and social issues through presentations like the September 16 Introduction to Fair Housing sponsored by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon.
Some schedules are still being fine-tuned, so peruse your options online to learn more. For a complete list of activities and events, go here.
Does it cost money?
While most events tied to Welcoming Week are free of charge, some do suggest a donation.
There are also several events requiring pre-registration, so get familiar with specifics before you show up.
As you might gather from the name, Welcoming Week is all about bringing folks together in a spirit of inclusivity and diversity. For the most part, everyone’s welcome and encouraged to attend.
That said, do read details of all events you’d like to join. Some are geared specifically toward creating safe space for BIPOC (Black Indiginous People of Color) community members, while others are meant for both allies and members of traditionally marginalized groups.
When in doubt, check the website or reach out to event organizers with questions.
How can I get involved?
Besides attending events, there are tons of ways to get involved. Talk with friends and family about Welcoming Week to get some good buzz going.
Show support by downloading and printing the “I’m a Welcomer” sign, snapping a pic, and posting it to Twitter using hashtags #WhereWeBelong, #IWelcome, and #WelcomingWeek2022.
Already looking forward to next year’s Welcoming Week? Apply to host an event next year, or contact the event organizer via the website to be a part of next year’s fun!
If I can’t make it, can I still dish out welcoming smiles in Bend?
We wouldn’t have it any other way.