While protestors have spent weeks taking to the streets to speak up about racism and police reform, state legislators have been working on how to come together to start addressing systemic racism as a body. That first step came yesterday in the form of HB 5007, a bill sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins, Sen. Luz Escamilla, and Sen. Evan Vickers to ban knee-on-neck chokeholds, which passed by a nearly unanimous vote during the Special Session. Rep. Hollins also read a citation to commemorate Juneteenth, which was made an official state holiday in Utah in 2016.
At a press conference last night, legislators spoke about these actions as only a first step and expressed a willingness to listen. They encouraged protestors and constituents to reach out and communicate directly with their state legislators and work together towards solutions. When a protestor asked how to be involved in policy development in the future, Rep. Hollins replied that they simply need to contact legislators. The press conference was organized by Utah County Senator Jake Anderegg, who admitted he doesn’t hear much about issues of racism in his district and invited community members to communicate with him.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
You’ve made your voices heard in the street; now make your voices heard in the People’s House and beyond. Protesting is one important way to amplify your message. There are many ways to take your advocacy to the next level. This is a time unlike any other. Put some thought into what you can do from here. Here are a few suggestions: