BEND, Ore. - Around 40 to 50 people packed a room in the Deschutes Public Library on Monday evening for the first meeting of the High Desert Chapter for the National Organization for Women.
The High Desert Chapter is being formed to promote positive change locally and is based on the national group's goals of creating full equality for all women through education and legal action. The founding members said they hope to get more people involved in leadership roles.
One of the organizers said the idea of a local NOW chapter came from a need for change in the political and social atmosphere.
"A lot of the time, we don't know what to do, we don't know that there are other people out there thinking the same things we are and we don't know how different or how the same we are as a community," said TerriAnn Mason, a convener for organization.
"We are all working together in this part of the state, and it was important to get people here to ask 'Hey this is how I feel, how do you feel, do you want to work together?" Mason said.
One participant said she's excited to work with like-minded people and hopes the group will find a focus.
"Most of us have been pretty complacent, because it seemed things had been going really well for the past eight years. And now things have gotten very scary for us," said Kate Bailey. "We don't want to sit around anymore and wait to see what's happening in Washington, and we feel we can affect things locally, and then maybe that can filter up to the national level."
The group said it will focus on growing membership and creating a voice in the community. The next meeting will be at the library on May 1. To learn more, visit their Facebook page: