Several incidents at Paso Robles High School, including a profanity-laced anti-Biden banner and defaced pride symbols, prompted a roundtable discussion Wednesday evening.
At the roundtable event, community members wrote down strengths and weaknesses of the Paso Robles community and ways it can be improved.
"I just want people to feel inclusive, and I just want people to feel safe in this community," said LGBTQ+ community supporter Salvador Anya.
Community members gathered at Paso Robles High School to discuss ways to move forward after a series of difficult events happened recently in the community.
"We're just concerned that everyone feels safe here," said Curt Dubost, Superintendent of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.
Dubost says the roundtable on Wednesday evening was held in response to troubling events that have taken place over the last few years in the Paso Robles community. The most recent event took place on school grounds the day before Veteran's Day, when a student put up a flag with a profanity-laced anti-Biden statement.
"We felt that it was time to do something tangible. With everything that's been going on it seemed like the perfect opportunity to come together and have a chance to share what we have in common and try to build bridges and bring the community together," said Dubost.
Anya said he was motivated to attend the event because he is part of the LGBTQ+ community and does not feel completely comfortable in the community.
"I just want everyone to feel like they have a voice and they've been heard, and at the end of the day feel like they can walk into an establishment here in Paso and not worry about what someone might say or think," said Anya.
He said major cities nearby have made more progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion and it's time for Paso Robles to do the same.
"It's kind of silly for us to be stuck in our ways when everyone around us is evolving, and they're thriving," said Anya.
Though there have been many negative events recently that prompted this roundtable discussion, some of the positive events tthe community discussed include the formation of the diversity committee, the Coming Out Against Hate event and the community Thanksgiving dinner.
The group hopes to see more positive events happen in the community as a result of tonight's discussion.