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April 17, 2021

Utah introduces new compact to seek solutions for racial equity, diversity and inclusion

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert introduced on Tuesday the formation of a new Utah Compact that seeks to address racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

Herbert said the compact produces five important pillars:

  1. Acknowledge racism exists
  2. Invest time and resources for minorities
  3. Listen and create new policies to close gaps
  4. Increase engagement
  5. Create a common goal for all Utahns to be included

“The need for this undeniable,” the governor said.

Herbert announced the compact on the steps of the Utah State Capitol with members of multiple minority communities standing behind him.

The compact is similar to one created for immigration discussion in 2010 and reaffirmed in 2019. The new compact was created after a tumultuous year of race relations in the United State and globally, particularly in the days and weeks after the death of George Floyd while in police custody on May 25.

Reaction to a video of Floyd’s last moments before his death sparked protests all over the world, including in Utah. Some of those protests grew into riots. For example, the Utah National Guard was called in to quell a riot that sparked outside of the Salt Lake City Public Library on May 30.

Many more events focused on social justice and police reform through peaceful protest. On June 4, a group of about 2,000 people gathered across the street from the state Capitol to listen as Black Utahns shared their stories regarding the issues before completing a march that looped around downtown Salt Lake City and ended back at the Capitol.

There have been efforts to address issues raised. Herbert announced on June 11 that Utah’s director of multicultural affairs and director of Indian affairs positions would participate in weekly leadership briefings after those positions were “elevated virtually into a cabinet position” in the governor’s office.

“We can do better to live up to the idea that our state was founded upon and what our country was founded upon by improving our actions and our interactions with those we associate with and in the policies that we, in fact, create,” the governor said at the time.

This story will be updated.

Carter Williams

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