Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, is one of the lawmakers who helped launch a diversity and inclusion program at K-12 schools in Utah. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah leaders announced Monday the creation of a new task force that will focus on diversity and inclusion in the classroom. The announcement took place at the southwest corner of the Utah State Capitol, near the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. plaque.
“There is strength in our diversity,” Governor Spencer Cox said in a statement on the bipartisan task force. “I look forward to working with this group to find ways to make every child in every school feel valued and respected.”
Several elected officials will create a task force to embed a diversity program in K-12 schools across the state, according to a press release from the Utah House of Representatives. The Utah Diversity and Inclusion Commission will be chaired by House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Schultz, Rep. Sandra Hollins, Sen. Kirk Cullimore and Sen. Luz Escamilla. The task force will include not only legislators, but also educators and community leaders.
“In an effort to create a Utah we can all be proud of, we are embarking on a path to embed a diversity and inclusion curriculum into our K-12 education system,” Schultz said in a statement. “As a bipartisan group, we will take a balanced approach and work together to better understand and find ways to create a better future for our children and grandchildren.”
The group will work closely with the Utah State Board of Education to develop an appropriate curriculum for children, according to the release.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop possible solutions to ensure that all of our young people feel safe and welcome in our schools,” Hollins said in the statement.
Cullimore and Hollins worked on the legislation to make the task force a reality. The group will be formed during the 2022 legislative session in Utah.
“As education continues to be a key equalizer for our state and our country, the opportunity to help shape a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum – encompassing the full history and diversity of our state – is essential,” said Escamilla said in the statement. “The opportunity to present a variety of perspectives, working towards this goal, makes this an exciting time.”
The band’s announcement comes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a celebration of the civil rights icon’s life and legacy. Many events in the state have commemorated King’s life, including marches in Ogden and Salt Lake City, as well as events hosted by local NAACP chapters.