Salt Lake City passed an anti-racism resolution. Here’s why it matters


give salt lake mayor Erin Mendenhall credit. While activists in other cities have tried to attack the problems of systemic racism by calling for police departments to defend themselves, they recently increased department salaries by 30% for new recruits and 12% for senior officers. Is.

He argued that doing so would help the city attract and retain the best officials. We would also add that it brings a level of dignity to the job of a law enforcement officer, which fosters a high level of performance.

The move gave the mayor and city council credibility to declare last Tuesday that racism is a public health crisis, with the city vowing to look closely at racist legacies within and beyond its policy framework.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of an ultra-partisan culture is that words such as “racism”, which should unite people in condemnation, have become politicised. People find conspiracies and hidden agendas twisting and burdening meaning with heavy layers of sinister intentions.

city ​​resolution rests on a more direct definition provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Racism is a system – consisting of structures, policies, practices and norms – that assigns value and determines opportunities based on people’s looks or the color of their skin.”

It sounds a lot like the Utah Compact on Racial Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, unveiled by former Gov. Gary Herbert and other political and community leaders last December. At the time, Herbert said that the compact was just the beginning; Some “individuals and businesses can rally around” to investigate themselves and come up with better racist policies and actions.

Herbert said the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers “pricked our conscience.” He said it “reminds us that we have not yet received the promised land. We are not where we wanted to be or should have been.”

The city’s resolution describes how “structural inequalities” are apparent when minority populations are exposed to “environmental toxins, housing needs, disparities in policing and the criminal justice system, inadequate private and public investment, lack of access to educational and employment opportunities and The majority of the population comes in contact with it. Health measures…”

It noted how COVID-19 has placed a greater burden on communities of color than other populations, providing statistics to back the claim. Latino communities, for example, make up 14.2% of Utah’s population, but account for 40% of its coronavirus cases.

Racism is one of many scourges that often seem invisible to many from a health care perspective. Years ago, state lawmakers recognized pornography as second. It drew criticism from some corners of the country. Yet its toll on damaged self-worth, objectification, and broken families is real. Recognizing this as a public health problem gives individuals and families a better chance of finding solutions to strengthen (and protect) them.

Racism confronts many Utons on a daily basis in the places where they live, learn, work, worship and play, to articulate the resolve.

The first step, always, is recognition. Which is why former Utah Jazz boss Gail Miller called for an apology last December that Utah is not a racist place. “I’ve realized that we are, and we need to face it,” she said as the compact was unveiled.

We hope that the city’s resolve, like the state’s compact, will become part of a unique Utah way to solve this social crisis. Maybe then, the rest of the country will lay down their political weapons, cast aside their horrifying fears and follow what the people here have done.

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