Something phenomenal is happening throughout Utah. Two years ago Senator Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, introduced comprehensive legislation to fix Utah’s broken Hate Crimes Statute. The effort stalled in the legislature.
Earlier this year, Senator Daniel Thatcher, R-West Jordan, picked up the baton with the support of the Statewide Association of Prosecutors and the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to advance the legislation. Again, the legislation stalled.
So, undeterred we are now taking the issue back to We, the People. Just last week, West Jordan City passed a resolution encouraging the Utah Legislature to pass Senator Thatcher’s Victim Targeting bill. Under the leadership of Mayor Kim Rolfe, the council sent a strong message that prosecutors must have the necessary tools to bring justice to victims who are targeted because of their race, religion, level of ability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
That was just the beginning. This week both South Salt Lake and Beaver County (yes, Beaver County!) have adopted the same resolution. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has also signed on in support. We are now building a grassroots movement to encourage action from the entire legislature.
In the aftermath of Charlottesville, and the disturbing resurfacing of Neo-Nazis and the KKK, these Utah communities are taking a stand for love and inclusion. They are making a powerful statement that we look after our own.
More Utah cities and counties are looking to pass resolutions of their own. Please reach out to your city council member and encourage them to stand with West Jordan, South Salt Lake and Beaver County. Let’s all stand on the side of love.
There are many reasons to feel discouraged by the news, but there are also reasons to have hope in the best of humanity. Thank you all for the love and kindness you spread throughout Utah every single day.