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The City Journals

Murray City creates diversity and inclusion task force

Feb 16, 2021 02:48PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray City created a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Ad Hoc Advisory Task Force. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Murray City Council approved the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Ad Hoc Advisory Task Force at the Jan. 19 council meeting. The resolution, sponsored by City Councilor Kat Martinez, created a task force to offer suggestions to the council and mayor regarding improving equitable access and opportunity to city residents, businesses and employees.

“All families should have full access to all services and community resources, but if we don’t invite these community members to the conversation and listen to experiences different from our own, we may not even know what challenges they are facing,” Martinez said.

According to Martinez, Murray is a diverse city with residents with a wide range of needs and challenges. Twenty percent of Murray residents identify as non-white or Hispanic, 5% as LGBTQ, and one in four adults lives with a disability that impacts major life activities.

“This task force will serve to offer individuals who have experienced barriers to access of services and participating in community occasions a formal seat at the table and opportunity to share their experiences and be a part of proposing solutions,” Martinez said.

The city council first discussed creating a diversity and inclusion board in the summer of last year when the race riots were happening nationally, including here in Utah. 

Mayor Blair Camp proposed creating a Public Safety Advisory Board, which was approved by the city council in July 2020. In general, the board will be expected to become acquainted with public safety departments’ operations and activities (both police and fire). It will review community needs, concerns, expectations and responses relative to police and fire services. A few of the board’s goals will be to promote quality public safety services to all residents and strengthen equal protection under the law throughout the community.

On a broader scale, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will focus on eliminating discrimination while encouraging social equality and equity through all city functions. 

“The task force will serve to ensure the city’s policies and procedures are best serving all residents. Taskforce members will propose changes to policies and procedures to the city council and mayor,” Martinez said.

Her family’s annual service projects on Martin Luther King Day spurred her to propose such a committee.

“Every year in January, we honor Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy of fighting for social and racial justice,” Martinez said. “My family spends the day doing works of service in the community in Dr. King’s memory, but listening to diverse voices and improving the inclusivity of our community shouldn’t be restricted to one day.”

Additionally, Martinez said she has family members who would’ve benefited from such a board in the communities they live in.

“I have a nephew, Atticus, who was born with a rare chromosome disorder and used a walker,” Martinez said. “This mobility challenge made it difficult for him and his siblings to visit many parks in their neighborhood. They often had to drive many miles to get to a park with accessible play equipment, safe cushioning, and ADA accessible restrooms.”

The city council will choose who sits on the task force. Applicants will be recruited by partnering with local organizations that are already serving marginalized communities.

“I think the primary challenge of any committee centered around bringing new voices to the table is deciding on which issues to tackle first. But I am energized and excited by a large amount of resident support I have received already and am honored to be a part of starting conversations that will lead to a more inclusive community for all Murray residents,” Martinez said.