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Utah ranks #27 in racial progress, public leaders say there still is work do

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UTAH (ABC4) – New data suggests Utah is making strides in racial progress, however at #27 in the United States, there is still some work to do.

After a challenging year confronting hate crimes and the protests that ensued as a result, WalletHub asks: Are we as human beings making progress?

“In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. introduced the world to his dream of a society that focuses on character, not on complexion. America has certainly come closer to realizing Dr. King’s vision. However, segregation and discrimination continue to persist,” WalletHub shares.

According to its team that presented the study to ABC4, in 2020 “conversations on race became especially prevalent, with protests largely about police brutality giving way to greater discussions of inequality.

“These discussions seem to be making an impact, too – according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 52% of Americans say they have been paying more attention to issues of race in recent months,” WalletHub adds. “In addition, 49% of Americans say the U.S. hasn’t done enough to give black Americans equal rights to white Americans, compared to 45% in 2019.”

WalletHub states that as Americans push themselves towards the future, it is essential to recognize the racial harmony that has been achieved in workplaces, schools, and even voting booths.

In the company’s survey, WalletHub measured the gaps between Black people and white people across 21 key indicators of equality and integration in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Research shows Utah weighing in at #27.

Source: WalletHub

In order to conduct the survey, WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia on four key factors: 1) Employment & Wealth, 2) Education 3) Social & Civic Engagement and 4) Health.

The evaluation then took those factors and matched them up to 21 relevant metrics with their corresponding weights.

The company then graded each metric on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of racial integration and progress.

“This analysis compares only black people and white people in light of racial tensions in recent years that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement,” explains WalletHub.

The company pulled information from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If in some states black people scored as high as or better than white people on a given metric, all such states were awarded the maximum number of points,” adds WalletHub. “Finally, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.”

Despite the Beehive State growing progressively, there is still work that needs to be done. One step that can help bridge the gap between policy and people is by investing in education and building relationships according to Aundrea DeMille.

DeMille was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Utah to help write equity, diversity & inclusion policies for the great state of Utah.

“We all have unconscious bias; the system was built this way,” DeMille tells ABC4.

Aundrea DeMille shares that at the end of the day it is all about expanding your mind and heart.

“Besides focusing on policy change, it’s important we all realize it’s a problem and address it head-on, without fear or guilt. It’s okay to have hard conversations and recognize that many Utahn’s lack equal opportunity, and work with those around you to change the status quo,” she shares.

DeMille states that she wants to bridge the gap between policy and people by educating the public on the issues that might not affect them directly, but affect others and the state as a whole.

“Don’t just say you’re helping, make an effort,” she adds.

ABC4 did not commission or participate in this study.

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