Contrary to belief, Utah has a thriving black community. According to the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, Utah’s black community has risen to 4%, and will likely grow higher due to the economic growth in this state. With this growth, more funding and education on diversity and inclusion is truly needed in a state where the majority of the people are not people of color.
Unfortunately, with the rise in the diversity of this state, legislators are presenting Bills to prohibit the funding or maintenance of diversity, equity, and inclusion offices or officers in the system of higher education and employment.
Bill sponsors Representative Katy Hall and Senator John D. Johnson will be in session THIS morning to pass these bills which clearly states their intentions. H.B. 451 (House Bill) is a bill proposing STATE ENTITY RESTRICTIONS. This bill prohibits the use of certain statements or materials by a state entity to determine employment, admission, or other benefits. S.B. 283 (Senate Bill) is a bill proposing PROHIBITING DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN HIGHER EDUCATION. This bill prohibits the funding or maintenance of diversity, equity, and inclusion offices or officers in the system of higher education.
Considering this state’s black population has a 4% rate, with other persons of color and diverse backgrounds not that much greater, these bills will adversely IMPACT the state in a major way! Various businesses in this state have instituted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion departments in their companies. Some have funded initiatives to empower grassroots organizations to promote diversity in the state.
2022, I read how Utah was the lowest in the state for women’s equality. In that report, they did not speak on how it affects the women of color in this state. This is why IMPACT Magazine began the IMPACT Black Women Experience. The black women in this state revealed they do not feel psychologically safe nor have the resources needed to do what she needs done in this state.
From this admission, IMPACT Black Women Experience was created and has had partners in conglomerate companies Meta, Domo, Thread, the Salt Lake City’s Mayors Office, Comcast, PDQ, Strong & Hanni, and more to provide IMPACT Magazine the resources to empower, encourage, and educate black women in this state. With IMPACT Black Women Experience partners, IMPACT Magazine has been able provide community organizations who provide needs to the black community, with financial assistance to support their organizations needs.
These bills will stop not only IMPACT Magazine’s efforts but also the companies, educational institutions, community organizations and more from doing the work in a state that desperately needs it! What can YOU do? Considering IMPACT Magazine has readers all over the world, you can be a resource by sharing outrage around the country for these outlandish Bills! If you’re the head of DEI in ANY organization or business, be on the lookout because they are coming for your state too! Proactively and regularly assess state regulatory exposure. Organizations in states should carefully consider the reach of state-level initiatives and whether and how they affect operations. And organizations that operate across state lines should survey the laws, regulations, and other directives in each jurisdiction to consider how they may limit operations in specific states or across the organization.
If you don’t know, as activist Tamika Mallory book states, we are in a STATE OF EMERGENCY! These bills will not only affect Utah, but if passed, YOUR state as well! Utah’s first black woman elected to Utah’s Legislature Sandra Hollis, who successfully passed legislation banning knee on the neck restraint by law enforcement, requiring cultural training for school resource officers, increasing job opportunities for the formerly incarcerated, removing the provision that allow for slavery in the Utah state constitution and declaring Juneteenth a state holiday says, “I’m tired! I’m tired physically and mentally from fighting. I don’t know what the fear is! I’m at a loss for words.”