Following recent events leading to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, among many others at the hands of violence, a group of men in Utah felt it was time to take a stand for those who can no longer stand for themselves.
The event was put on by BL4CK (For Black), as a peaceful assembly in support of all of the black men who have fallen at the hands of injustice. BL4CK says they are not an “Anti-White” organization.
Co-founder of BL4CK, CJ Drisdom says the nonprofit organization was conceived through two months of meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic on ways to uplift the black community in Utah along with partner Chris Kirtz.
The day began Thursday Morning with a breakfast, mixer at Lakehouse studios, followed by a gathering and photo shoots on the east side of the State Capitol stairs.
Black men and boys were asked to show up wearing a suit or casual wear for this picturesque gathering.
The afternoon was also filled with guest speakers who spoke about racial issues in the community and the workplace as well as ways to build a more effective dialogue with police officers.
Sgt. Sam Winkler of the South Jordan Police Department who works in community outreach, working towards solutions to fix some of the issues that cause the split between minorities and police officials. “I stand with you today in rightfully demanding the reform we all want, not just in police departments, but in all forms of society,” said Winkler.
The South Jordan Sergeant also challenged those in the community to play a bigger part in getting involved with the local government to ensure change will happen in ending the systemic oppression of people of color.
Among the many business leaders and professionals, entertainers, bankers, servicemen and others in attendance, James Jackson III, founder and executive director of the Utah Black Chamber recalls the early of the chamber which began in 2009, where at that time the black community in Utah was barely at 0.5% of the state’s population, Jackson was ecstatic to see the support for Thursday’s event.
Jackson said it’s important for people of color in Utah to remain united and to expand on the narrative of unity across the state, not only within the black community but with law officials as well. “It’s great to have the sergeant and chief with us today, we need their voices to speak louder. I have had the honor and privilege of speaking with several police chiefs over the past couple of months, and they’re listening to our concerns,” said Jackson III.
The unique event served as a vehicle of inspiration for black men, both young and old to see others who look just look them in a professional manner.