January 06, 2020

Community partners come together for civic participation and social justice

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By Hailey Leek and Charlotte Fife-Jepperson, event co-organizers 

About seventy people – mostly teens – gathered at the Sorenson Unity Center on Saturday, December 14 to learn how to become more civically engaged and politically active in 2020. 

This free event, titled 2020 Vision: Focus on Social Justice, was a call to action to speak up for social justice and participate in our democracy by voting, writing your representatives or local newspaper, completing the census, and voicing your opinion through art.

The afternoon started out with short documentary film screenings produced through Spy Hop, a nonprofit organization that mentors young people in the digital media arts to help them find their voices. 

Calvin Mumm, who directed a film on the secondary trauma of school shootings, and Jonathan Landeros, whose film focused on the harsh realities of immigrants and racism, shared why they created their films in a Q & A led by Davey Davis of Utah Film Center.

Davis commented that he was impressed with the way the two young filmmakers took two very contentious topics and put a human face on them. 

Before the workshops kicked off, Billy Palmer of KRCL 90.9 FM’s RadioACTive show, shared how his entry into community organizing was a product of the love for his west-side neighborhood – Glendale – and that the west side needed more representation in local government.

Palmer encouraged everyone to get started on affecting positive change. “There are literally a thousand ways to get involved,” he said. He also said that although we think of community organizing and activism as selfless acts, they really are not; we personally reap the benefits of doing the work.   

The rest of the afternoon allowed participants to flow between a variety of workshops from the Salt Lake Tribune, Hinckley Institute of Politics, U of U ArtsBridge, League of Women Voters and the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office. 

Throughout the afternoon participants focused on issues that directly impact them and were provided some resources to begin the process of affecting change.

Attendees wrote or drew their intentions for 2020 on colorful postcards provided by Glendale resident Kerri Hopkins of U of U ArtsBridge. These postcards will be publicly displayed and will be mailed back to the creators in a few months as a reminder of their resolutions for the new year. 

Participants also enjoyed swag from the SLC Mayor’s Office and food from two local businesses, City Creek Pizza and RubySnap Fresh Cookies.

This event was a commitment to kindness and fairness in 2020, and a call to action for community members to not just sit on the sidelines as the world changes, rather to take action and be a part of the problem-solving process. 

Thank you to our “2020 Vision: Focus on Social Justice” event partners:

  • Presented by West View Media and SLC Mayor’s Office
  • Sponsors: Sorenson Unity Center, Spy Hop, KRCL 90.9 FM, and Utah Film Center
  • Workshop presenters: Salt Lake Tribune, Hinckley Institute of Politics, League of Women Voters, U of U ArtsBridge and SLC Mayor’s Office Census Coordinator

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