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Davis Journal

Collaborative effort to foster inclusion, end racism

Jan 06, 2022 11:06AM ● By Becky Ginos

Utah First Lady Abby Cox (left) and HAFB Commander Colonel Jenise M. Carrol share a laugh during a press conference announcing an enhanced partnership to address community-wide racism. Photo by Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—In an effort to bring the community together to end discrimination and promote inclusion, Davis School District administrators announced on Tuesday the formation of an enhanced partnership between Hill Air Force Base, Davis County commissioners and the state to address these issues.

“I believe when we’re dealing with racism it has to be a partnership to come together and talk about it,” said Commissioner Bob Stevenson. “We need to open up communication to resolve the problem.”

It’s all about one Utah, one military, said HAFB Commander Colonel Jenise M. Carrol of the 75th Air Base Wing. “We need to break down the barriers of communication and make the community aware of what we’re doing. We need to know what’s happening in our schools. It’s a problem that we don’t all see the same.”

“Hill is the number one single site employer in Utah,” said Superintendent Reid Newey. “We’re number two. It’s an extraordinary asset with great leadership. This isn’t a 7-3 problem that’s why we’re so engaged in this.” 

Utah First Lady Abby Cox, founder of “Show Up Utah” initiative, introduced her Unified Sports Program. “It joins people with and without mental disabilities,” she said. “It gives kids the opportunity to play on a team and make friends not only on the court but in the hallways and lunchroom.”

It teaches leadership and how to treat others, said Cox. “I imagine a world where every child feels important and included in every way. Let’s not let any child go through school without a friend.”

The group will meet monthly, said Assistant Superintendent Jackie Thompson. “Other partners include Jeanetta Williams with the Salt Lake NAACP and Betty Sawyer of the Ogden NAACP. They’ll be the boots on the ground in the community and be accessible to all.”

It’s not about whether this is a racist community, said Assistant Superintendent John Zurbuchen. “It’s about making a more healthy community and making a better experience for kids and families. Can we be a better community – yes.” 

“Our goal is to stamp out racism,” said Stevenson. “Suicide, abuse, addiction are all starting to eat away at us. It’s wonderful to come together to solve these problems. We’re in the best spot to be an example for the entire state and the nation.”

“Our arms are wide open to the community,” Thompson said. “There is an African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’”