Declaration of five principles and actions invite individuals, businesses, and organizations to commit to be anti-racist and advance equal opportunity for all
SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 15, 2020) – Gov. Gary R. Herbert joined community leaders on the steps of the Utah Capitol this morning to launch a new compact committing to anti-racist principles and actions.
“All men and women are created equal. The rights to education, housing, employment, healthcare, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must belong to all of us — to people of all races,” Gov. Herbert said. “I believe, and hope, that most Utahns want to make that happen. In signing this compact, Utahns can commit to the important work of loving their neighbor, and ensuring equity and equality in our state.”
The compact is founded on the principles that all people are created equal and that all Utahns must have a truly equal opportunity to prosper. It explicitly acknowledges racism as a system of ideas, beliefs, practices, structures, and policies that give some people greater opportunity than others. Signatories of the compact pledge to work toward priorities and laws that create equal opportunity and access, and to foster communities of respect.
All signatories also commit themselves to acknowledge and fight racism, invest time and resources in creating greater opportunity or people of color, and to advance solutions to racial ills by listening and creating policies that provide equal opportunity and access to employment, housing and health care. They also promise to engage communities of color by upholding the principle “nothing about us, without us.” Finally, all signatories commit to join a movement for social, racial, and economic justice.
Gov.-elect Spencer J. Cox said racial equity will be an important part of his administration.
“History teaches us that progress doesn’t just happen. It requires forethought, commitment and deliberate action. These principles reflect a firm resolve toward racial justice, a direction toward equity and inclusion that will continue during my administration,” Cox said. “This isn’t about political correctness, it’s about human correctness. It’s about kindness, decency and love for our fellow travelers. Indeed, it is about striving to deliver on the self-evident truths recognized from our founding: ‘That all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights’.”
“Today, during the most unbelievable and trying times in our state, country, and world, and alongside the most political partisan extremism and government rage many of us have ever experienced in our lifetime, this is a moment — another positive and compassionate Utah moment — where we stand as a state, alongside our partners and say “no” to racial inequities, disparities, and unequal opportunities, and “yes” to a movement, collective and consciously toward racial justice,” said Sen. Jani Iwamoto.
“I am excited for this development and hopeful for the work that different leaders across the state will forward through the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” said Sen. Luz Escamilla. “Recognizing the history of inequities, disparities, and gaps that our communities have faced and continue to face is instrumental to implementing solutions that create equal opportunities and access for all. This is a great first step, and I’m looking forward to seeing the measures that help bring prosperity to ALL Utahns.”
“With this compact Utah is sending a message that they are committed to working towards equity,” said Rep. Sandra Hollins.
Ms. Betty Sawyer, Executive Director of Project Success Coalition and President of the NAACP Ogden Chapter, attended the signing and reflected that, “today’s event rang with a spirit of hope. For the first time in a long time, I felt that we had leaders who have made a head and heart shift. Listening to the speakers’ personal stories and revelations lead me to believe that our Black community was not in this struggle alone! Not a moment but a movement.”
Ms. Luna Banuri, Executive Director of the Utah Muslim Civic League and member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission, also attended the event and shared, “I am appreciative of Governor’s continued efforts since his June meeting with the Multicultural community in making strides towards adjusting the sails around racial inequities and diversity in Utah. The compact’s five principles are the basis for inclusivity of all Utahns. As a Muslim woman, I see myself being included together with my community. We are hopeful of continued engagement and understanding of our uniqueness. Much remains to be accomplished for civic justice”
Jake Fitesumanu Jr., Director of the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition, participated as one of the event’s speakers and shared, “As one of Utah’s 50,000 Pacific Islanders, I applaud the Compact as a meaningful step toward action and outcomes that will benefit all Utahns.”
“Utah’s destiny is boundless but we can only reach our potential when every member of our community has the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential,” said House Speaker Brad Wilson. “Once again, Utah is standing up and declaring support for the principles that make our community remarkable and I am proud to add my signature to The Utah Compact on Racial Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.”
“I appreciate businesses, nonprofits and religious organizations advocating and helping expand resources to remove structural barriers and provide fair opportunities for all,” said Senate President J. Stuart Adams
Ms. Emma E. Houston, Chair for the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission said, “This is a serious matter as the Governor leads out on this important initiative to ensure every Utahn feels valued and respected with a sense of belonging. Equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism work starts with leadership understanding and equipping others with tools to implement change. The impact will change the ways in which Utah operates and the ways we interact and hold each other accountable. I look forward to helping with the transformation.”
Simba Maponga, Vice-Chair for the Commission stated, “This compact represents the framework for Utah to move forward making sure no community is left behind. The courage shown by the Governor and various allies today is the beginning of a journey together; to shape our state and communities, ensuring that we are inclusive and united in every aspect. It’s exciting to see Utah lead on this incredibly important issue.”
Byron Russell, Co-Chair for the Utah Multicultural Commission and Co-Chair of the Multicultural Advisory Committee of Utah’s COVID-19 Response, stated “Today is an example of what can happen when our multicultural communities are invited to help design, construct and advance good policy for legacy. It is important to note, however, that we stand on these steps of Utah’s State Capitol today thanks to the tireless efforts of great leaders including the late Archie Archuletta and Frank Cordova, Pastor France Davis, Miss Jeannetta Williams and Miss Betty Sawyer, to name just a very few.”
“This compact is a statement and promise of leadership, unity and commitment to end systemic racism and provide equal opportunity to all who live in and visit our great state,” said Gail Miller, Owner and Chair of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “We need to do better at listening, learning, understanding, acting and advocating. I am grateful to all who are signing the compact. We are all in this together.”
“This compact provides an important opportunity for us as Utahns to unify in rededicating ourselves to the work of ensuring equity for all,” said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank. “Working together, we can build a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper.”
Zee Min Xiao, Director of Salt Lake County’s Office of New Americans and Co-Chair of the Multicultural Advisory Committee of Utah’s COVID-19 Response, spoke during today’s event and stated that, “The Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion set forth actions to create conditions where all Utahns, including individuals from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, can contribute fully – thrive economically, socially, culturally and politically.”
Jennifer Mayer-Glenn, Director of Utah Neighborhood Partners, joined the lineup and discussed the intersection of anti-racism and immigration. She said “This Utah Compact on racial equity, diversity and inclusion asks us all to acknowledge and take action. Our current and historic immigration policy is exclusive and wrought with racism. This is what we must acknowledge and on which we must take action. She further encouraged leaders to be mindful and “[p]lease bring us to decision making tables. Together we can co-create knowledge, create a place of belonging and thriving for us all. Archie Archuleta dedicated his life to opening doors for me and so many others. He is one reason we are all standing here today.”
Claudia Loayza, member of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, closed the event with the reminder that we must include our youth. She said, “Young voices and emerging leaders have often been at the forefront of movements, in the past and even now,” adding that “[they] need to be considered, included, and provided the power to influence decisions to truly make an impact.” She finished by sharing her aspiration “that we make this a practice moving forward because when unique perspectives and lived experiences are given similar weight as we do professional experience and clout, we can address and find gaps that we may have not been able to before.”
The compact is the most public of several steps the governor has taken over recent months to introduce anti-racist policies following meetings he held with the Martin Luther King and Multicultural Commissions in June. Members of the governor’s senior staff and cabinet have recently completed a months-long implicit bias training program, which included a rigorous schedule of educational materials and virtual training meetings with experts in implicit bias and race relations.
To view and sign The Utah Compact, visit slchamber.com/utahcompact.
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