Utah leaders announce new diversity and inclusion commission
As Utahns celebrated an activist and American civil rights leader on Monday, Utah leaders gathered near the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plaque at the Utah State Capitol to announce a new working group for inclusion and diversity in classrooms. Rep. Mike Schultz said it was time for Utah to lead the way.
“This work will bring people together and build understanding in our communities,” Schultz said. “While many states have struggled to find an appropriate way to address these issues, as they teach history in our classrooms, Utah will do it the right way.”
The Utah Diversity and Inclusion Commission will be chaired by Rep. Schultz, Rep. Sandra Hollins, Sen. Kirk Cullimore and Sen. Luz Escamilla. They said they will be taking a bipartisan approach to implementing a diversity curriculum in K-12 education. Sen. Escamilla said the focus will be on the students.
“I think it's sending the right signals to our children,” Escamilla said. “You guys are the future, and we want to make this the best for all of you.”
A Utah House of Representatives statement said the commission will be working closely with the Utah State Board of Education. Sen. Cullimore said the goal of the commission is to bring about what Dr. King asked.
“I look forward to working on the legislation that ensures we are united around shared values and not divided by the color of our skin,” Cullimore said.
Governor Cox said he’s looking forward to what the commission will accomplish.
“The learning piece is important, but the doing piece is the most important part of all of this,” Cox said. “I believe if it can be done anywhere, it can be done right here in Utah.”
The announcement came on the heels of the Utah legislative session which started Jan. 18 and will run until Mar. 4.