South Salt Lake is by many measures the most diverse city in the state – nearly half of our residents come from other countries and represent a variety of cultures, races, incomes and experiences. I see every day the challenges many of our residents face – the difficulty navigating daily life in a system and society that often seems at odds with them. As Mayor, I have worked hard to create a community of inclusion and opportunity for all residents. We have made a practice of putting people first in our policies, budgets and programs. We have built entire new programs based on this principle.
I credit the involvement and leadership of our many residents, employees, partners, educators, faith leaders and others who have led the way in making equity a city priority. They have shared their stories of inherent bias, systemic discrimination, and offer solutions and committed their time and resources to make the change our community needs. They are making a difference through our Equity Council, Promise South Salt Lake, Police Athletic League and Community Connection. We have placed great emphasis on hiring for diversity, including a large increase in women working in our fire department, and young people of many cultures in our Promise Department. I also led our city’s efforts to adopt policies for non-discrimination in housing and benefits for domestic partners. But I know we have many more challenges to face.
The events of 2020 have brought this topic front and center in our community and our nation. The heartbreak and suffering that many of our friends and neighbors experience must end. I hear the cries for help, for empathy, and respect and ask all city leaders, employees and residents to listen deeply and to change. We are only as good as our understanding of the problem. I say this from the heart and with humility; I am here to serve you. Please help us become the community we all deserve. Please call me or anyone you are familiar with to speak up and start the conversation. I would be honored to listen.