C. Oregon Jobs with Justice honors locals

Businesses who put social justice at forefront recognized

Jobs with Justice awards banquet

BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon Jobs with Justice held their fourth annual Social Justice Awards banquet Friday evening.

It was a night to honor businesses and individuals who put social justice at the forefront. The evening's guest speaker was Oregon's Secretary of State Kate Brown.

Jobs with Justice has been in Central Oregon for 10 years, but it wasn't until four years ago when they decided to recognize those doing good deeds.

Chairman Yaju Dharmarajah said the group wanted to shed light on people who tackle environmental, social and labor issues in the community.

"A lot of times social justice, like the Bethlehem Inn, folks like Phil Randall, go unnoticed in our community in terms of what they do, and how much they help for us," Dharmarajah said.

Philip Randall has been the head of the Amnesty International chapter in Central Oregon for 20 years, but he's been an activist since college when he worked with farm workers with Cesar Chavez.

"Sometimes when you're an activist for a long time, especially when you're an activist who isn't paid, then you wonder why you're doing it," Randall said. "Getting recognized is important to me."

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown said she thought it was important to be in attendance to provide positive reinforcement and continue to encourage folks to get involved.

"The doors are not open for a lot of people throughout the state of Oregon, and we need to make sure everyone in the state has an opportunity to pursue their dreams," Brown said.

Also being honored, a downtown Bend coffee shop, for opening their doors for community needs.

"We put a lot of work, and a lot of heart and effort into Dudley's, and this is finally a way of showing it's acknowledged and recognized," said Dudley's Bookshop Café owner Rebecca Singer. "Couldn't be more proud."

Dhamarajah said his vision is social justice for people from all walks of life.

"I want to be in a community like Bend where my kids, who are 2 and 7 months old, can grow up in a safe respectful, nurturing community," Dhamarajah said.

The Social Justice Center co-houses public and private-sector unions, local community groups, and immigration law firms.

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