Salt Lake County Battles Racism

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As the annual Stand Against Racism event took place today in Salt Lake City, the county is embracing its diversity but also realizing there is still so much work that needs to be done.

“Diversity is about all of us,” says Ashley Cleveland, one of the attendees of the event today, “So, it’s my responsibility to be here to support everyone.”

That’s why many like her and others from different backgrounds and cultures gathered inside the Salt Lake County Government Center to celebrate the diversity within Salt Lake. 

“Growth and diversity is happening ever faster here.  I think we’ve seen especially with the last few years as the refugees are coming here, we’ve opened our doors to refugees, opened our doors to immigrants, really, they’re bringing so much diversity and strength to our community,” says Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

The mayors says that strength translates into a strong economy and an even stronger cultural fabric.  But, he adds that racism still exists in the state, and that is event is there to help combat that problem.

“Thankfully, I think it’s most latent racism but, sometimes our own individual attitudes can be biased or prejudiced,” he added.

Performances and speeches by local groups and leaders were meant to help highlight the ever growing number of diverse groups in our state.  Those in attendance got to experience Latin American dances, and hear inspiring stories from individuals who come from around the world.  Throughout the performances, the county continues to remind itself that more works needs to be done.

“Whenever someone has the power to inflict harm or discrimination against anyone then we do have a problem but, we also understand it’s important for us when we see that happening to take a stand against it,” says Emma Houston Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the mayor’s office.

Cleveland also adds by creating more inclusive spaces for diverse groups to express themselves is just one of the many ways to help overcome racism.

“I think being proactive is a great opportunity for Salt Lake City ’cause we’re at the front end of our demographics changing so rapidly.” 

She adds Utahns must get ahead because the change is already happening. 

Many in attendance say one of the best way for Utahns to get involved with diverse groups is to reach out and attend many of the festivals and activities they hold to help combat any prejudices a person may hold and learn more about the culture and its people.  

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