Men. People of color. Youth. LGBTQ. This may not be what you think of the League of Women Voters, but it is who we are today.
As the League enters its 100th year anniversary, people of diverse backgrounds are here to celebrate with us and remember that giving women the right to vote was just one more step toward enfranchising all Americans.
The League is fully committed to the concept of diversity, equity and inclusion, emphasizing that, “there shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization.” This has not always been the case, as our League leadership readily admits.
While the 15th Amendment of 1870 gave the right to vote to black males, that right did not extend to black women. And you may not realize that the passage of the 19th Amendment didn’t extend at first to any race other than Caucasians.
Sadly, even the women’s suffrage movement was rife with inequality and racism. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, that African American women officially won the right to vote.
This is part of the League’s past, something we have learned and grown from. Empowering voters, defending democracy – that is our motto. As a nonpartisan civic group, the League neither supports nor opposes any candidate or party.
League members are up at the Capitol or at your city council meetings advocating on positions we have thoroughly studied. Clean air, for instance, has long been an issue of importance.
A 1966 League study came up with this position: “The members of the League of Women Voters of Salt Lake agree that objective evidence of air pollution in the Salt Lake area justifies immediate and vigorous abatement activities. An abatement program should attempt to balance considerations of health, economics and aesthetics.”
If you are concerned about the impact of the proposed Inland Port, this is another issue the League has taken a position on.
Ultimately, the League believes that our vote is the best way to preserve democracy, and we conduct numerous voter registration drives, including at naturalization ceremonies.
In Utah, nearly 300,000 women are eligible to vote but not registered. And many registered voters simply stay home, believing wrongly that their vote doesn’t matter. This past Salt Lake election should disprove that. A mere 182 votes separated one incumbent city council member from election. A Midvale council spot was won by only 18 votes.
The League is here for all citizens, but we also need citizens to work with us. “We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate,” our national League proclaims.
The League “encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.”
To find out more about what the League of Women Voters does, how it is structured and how to join, visit https://www.lwvutah.org.
Katharine Biele is a local journalist and current president of the League of Women Voters of Salt Lake. Having served on many boards, she is actively involved in her community and church, and is past president of the Utah Women’s Forum.
I have heard well-meaning people say something to the effect of, “Well, I don’t know anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).” I smile just a bit and say in my head, “More likely you don’t know any LGBT people who trust you enough to share that aspect of their lives with you.”
So what? Who cares?
In an attempt to make themselves a less visible target for discrimination and victimization, LGBT people may attempt to conceal their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Studies have shown that this strategy may be effective in the short-term, but if continued over long periods can become a source of chronic stress, linked to higher rates of depression and chronic physical health conditions.
A study conducted in 2015 concluded that hiding an important part of who one is may also contribute to social isolation, loneliness, and depression – important risk factors for the early onset of age-related diseases and shorter life expectancy.
An 88-year-old gay man, one of the 2,560 participants in the first of its kind, federally-funded Caring and Aging with Pride (CAP) national research study of LGBT adults aged 50 and older described how his son had indirectly inquired about his sexual orientation once, long ago. He went on to describe how no one, not even those closest to him knew that he was gay – but would likely figure it out after he died.
As a member of the CAP research team, I was saddened but not entirely surprised to read those words.
I wrote my first research paper on homosexuality nearly 20 years ago. I thought that as a gay man I already knew all about the topic and would get an easy “A.” I did get the A but it was not easy, as the scope of my ignorance related to what I thought I knew was breathtaking.
I have continued studying the health and mental health of LGBT midlife and older adults since then.
In my graduate social work program I learned that compared to straight people, LGBT adolescents and adults are at significantly greater risk for depression, suicidality, and substance abuse issues. These poor mental health outcomes are the result of living in a culture that highly stigmatizes LGBT people.
In broad terms, stigma is the collective, typically negative stereotypes, attitudes, and beliefs associated with particular social identity groups. When internalized, we apply those stereotypes to others and ourselves to our own detriment.
Internalized stigma among older LGBT adults has been with increased risk for depression, and disability and poor general health.
As a mental health provider in my advanced practicum, and subsequent five years of employment at Seattle Counseling Service for Sexual Minorities, I began to see firsthand that the LGBT community stigmatizes other minority groups in many of the same ways – racism, sexism, ableism to name a few.
Ageism – treating people differently based on negative stereotypes about older adults – is a stigma that is rampant in the LGBT community.
Decades of research have shown that community involvement is an important protective factor in mental health. Imagine that the community you finally found as an adolescent or younger adult, the one that finally gave you a deep sense of belonging, now rejects you just because of your age.
On a positive note, a study conducted in 2011 found that LGBT older adults are incredibly resilient; most are not depressed and the majority report fairly good physical health.
Transgender Americans have among the highest proportional rates of military service of all groups. Surprisingly we found that older transgender adults who had previously served in the U.S. military were less likely to be depressed than those who had not. While the reasons for this remain unclear, we do know that social engagement and a sense of belonging are incredibly important to our health and wellbeing.
The good news is that there is a program located here in Salt Lake City that provides programing and opportunities that supports the social, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs of LGBT Utahns aged 50 and older: SAGE Utah (Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders), a program of the Utah Pride Center.
We can work to promote equity by learning about, recognizing, and addressing the barriers that prevent LGBT older adults from fully and visibly participating in our otherwise vibrant and diverse community.
I’d like to leave you with the thoughts of another CAP participant, an 81-year old lesbian. She wrote about feeling more joyful than she ever had living in an LGBT affirming retirement community, finally coming out of the closet at her age. While she expressed some sorrow about not having “a cuddly friend,” she also disclosed that she was in love with an 85-year-old pianist.
Charles P. Hoy-Ellis is a west-side resident and an assistant professor of Social Work at the University of Utah. He is also a member of the CSWE Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression, and a Faculty Research Affiliate with the W. D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging.
by Joaquin Galvan (Charlotte Fife-Jepperson added to the story)
Hip-hop started in the early ‘70s in the Bronx, New York City. Unemployment, poverty, and crime rates were at an all-time high, and the community’s black and Latino residents, who felt abandoned by the city, found an outlet through a new culture and art movement – Hip-hop.
Grandmaster Flash, an influential DJ who was involved in the early Hip-hop scene, said that Hip-hop’s message was, “We matter. We stand for something,” according to a quote in Dorian Lynskey’s August 2016 article “Grandmaster Flash,” published in The Guardian.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hip-hop culture spread through the streets in the Bronx through house parties, block parties, gym dances and mix-tapes.
The words Hip-hop and rap are used interchangeably today, however Hip-hop is not only rap.
Afrika Bambaataa, DJ and founder of the Universal Zulu Nation (an international Hip-hop awareness group) outlined the Four Pillars of Hip-hop as: DJing (turntabling), MCing (vocal rapping), breakdancing (movement), and graffiti (visual art).
Hip-hop’s roots can be traced back to slavery. Much like Hip-hop, songs and spirituals were sung by African American slaves as a way of transmitting culture to the next generation.
After slavery, as African Americans moved into cities like Detroit, New York and Chicago, the culture they created followed. However, because they were seen as second-class citizens most lived in poverty for generations.
Hip-hop began to take stances on social justice issues early on, much like the Black Lives Matter movement does today. Songs like "Fight the Power" and "F* the Police" are prime examples of rap that took a stance on the injustices afflicting the African American community during the 1992 L.A. riots over the Rodney King assault.
Hip-hop has become a great way for a community to have its voice heard when other avenues for the political process have failed. It is also a means of communicating within the Hip-hop community itself.
The Stop the Violence Movement was formed in 1987 by rapper KRS-One in response to violence within the Hip-hop community. Several New York rappers joined forces to record the single, "Self Destruction." All proceeds of the single went to the National Urban League, a New York based group that focuses on social and civil rights issues affecting communities of color.
Two years later, the West Coast Rap All Stars followed suit by teaming up to produce a No.1 rap single “We’re All in the Same Gang,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1991.
Several Hip Hop groups and rappers like 50 Cent, Timbaland, Common, Talib Kweli, Run the Jewels and MC Killer Mike have endorsed political candidates throughout the years.
Kamau Rashid, Associate Professor at National-Louis University, Chicago, said in 2006,
"[Hip-hop] represented a potential shift in the ideological and ideational dynamics of the African American community insofar as it signaled an intergenerational movement around crafting solutions which were artistic, organizational, and institutional to the structural malaise of post-industrial urban black communities.”
Hip-hop maintains a strong stance in the African American community today. However, as the Hip-hop culture grew so did its diversity. It has become a global community of solidarity.
Joaquin Galvan, a Filipino American raised in the Guadalupe neighborhood of Fairpark, appreciates Hip-hop in all its forms.
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
We’re setting our sights on a brighter and more inclusive future. You are invited to join us for short film screenings and workshops that focus on youth empowerment, the 2020 census, voting and civic engagement. Pizza will be served!
When: December 14 from 1:15 - 4:30 p.m. Where: Sorenson Unity Center - 1383 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Workshops brought to you by:
Hinckley Institute of Politics
Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office
The Salt Lake Tribune
League of Women Voters
West View Media
Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office
Sorenson Unity Center
1:15 - 1:30 p.m. - Doors Open - grab a slice of pizza
1:30 - 1:35 p.m. - Welcome - Black Box Theater
1:35 - 2:10 p.m. - Spy Hop Film Screenings
Sown by Calvin Mumm, Michael Eggert, and Taylor Kiser
Sown is a look at the experience and secondary trauma high school students experience from school shootings throughout the different aspects of daily high school life.
Marching On by KR Macher
This film will inspire voters to consider the lives of our youth while casting their votes, and understand the threat of gun violence is not only to students, but to everyone.
I'm Human Too by Jonathan Landeros, Jaimy Madisen and Jeff Morales.
"I'm Human Too" explores the challenges and harsh realities of immigration and racism from the perspective of two local families.
Dreaming by Sage Nelsen
After seeing this film, I hope people will stop stereotyping undocumented immigrants as violent or lazy.
2:10 - 2:20 p.m.- Facilitated Q&A - Davey Davis
2:20 - 2:25 p.m. Call to Action: The power of speaking up and getting your voice heard. Introduce workshops. - Billy Palmer
2:25 - 2:30 p.m. - Head to workshops
2:30 - 3:10 p.m. - Workshop A (40 minutes)
Writing an Op Ed with the Salt Lake Tribune – George Pyle
Writing your Representative with U of U Hinckley Institute - Miranda Best
The Power of Being Counted: Mobilizing Around the Census - Hailey Leek
Rock the Vote - League of Women Voters
3:15 - 3:55 p.m. - Workshop B (40 minutes)
Writing an Op Ed with the Salt Lake Tribune – George Pyle
Writing your Representative with U of U Hinckley Institute - Miranda Best
The Power of Being Counted: Mobilizing Around the Census - Hailey Leek
Rock the Vote - League of Women Voters
4:00 - 4:30 p.m. - Community Art Activity: Intentions in 2020 with Kerri Hopkins
How long can an individual expect to live with mistakes that were made in their youth? If you have a juvenile record, you may be forced to live with those mistakes longer than you think.
Monica Diaz, Managing Attorney with Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, said that it is a myth that juvenile records are sealed and cannot be accessed by employers, licensing boards, government, or educational institutions. “You never know when a juvenile record will come back,” said Diaz. “An individual shouldn’t have that barrier because of something that happened during a limited time period of their life.”
The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, in partnership with the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice, will hold a Juvenile Record Expungement Clinic on October 8 at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan from 4:30-6:30 p.m.. Diaz said that this free clinic is a way for individuals who have a juvenile record to meet with an attorney and fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for expungement. The clinic is an opportunity for individuals to begin the process of regaining control over that period of their lives.
Diaz shared an account of one juvenile who went through the expungement process. (Organizers of the clinics have asked The West View to keep participants’ names anonymous.) This juvenile got into an argument with her mom when she was 15 years old. The incident resulted in the police being called and she was charged with a class B misdemeanor assault. She admitted to the charge in court. After her appearance in court she never had another juvenile incident and never had any incidents as an adult.
At age 28, she graduated from medical school but couldn’t pass a Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) background check due to the juvenile assault incident. Without passing a DOPL background check she couldn’t start her residency. She went to the Provo expungement clinic and the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys were able to get her juvenile record expunged so that she could start her residency.
The juvenile record expungement clinic on October 8 is for anyone who has a juvenile record from the state of Utah. Interested participants should be 18, or close to 18. Any individual who wishes to participate in the clinic should bring their state issued ID. The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys will help individuals with the initial application paperwork at the clinic and through subsequent follow up steps.
Diaz shared a statement made by a former participant in one of their clinics: “I’m so grateful for the expungement process and would recommend it to others. For me, this expungement is more than just getting my record cleared...To me it is finally being able to close that chapter of my life and knowing that this case will never affect my kids the way that is has. But also, it’s something that can’t be used against me like it has been. I would tell anyone who has a delinquency history to go through the expungement process for your future. For whatever dreams you have. You don’t know how and in what way your delinquency record will affect you because it can and likely will if you don’t have it taken of.”
“Individuals may be intimidated by the process or not know what to do to get their record expunged,” Diaz said. This clinic helps ease those anxieties and attorneys will be there to help with the step-by-step process. Diaz encourages individuals to take advantage of this free opportunity, which only takes between 20-30 minutes.
The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys organization began holding clinics last October and Diaz said that their goal is to visit every judicial district by October 2020.
Juvenile Record Expungement Clinic Event Information:
October 8, 2019 4:30-6:30 Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT 84088)
The pain and agony of trauma. “Help me” would echo through my thoughts. The constant hiding from others. Walls of safety sealed my lips in stone, entombing a secret I buried for over 47 years. Years after the abuse, I continued to play out the scenarios within my own mind.
I felt crazy; I thought I had a brain tumor. The shame I felt led to self-punishment, like cutting myself and banging my head against the wall. I went through years of counseling, however I was never able to share my secret. Would there ever be healing from my trauma? I chose to believe if I searched long enough I would discover the answer.
Hope played an essential role in my healing. Hoping I may heal one day lead me through a battlefield of suffering. I fought for survival, and hope held my hand through the process.
These are some of the ways to heal from trauma:
Stay closed or open up? If I wanted to progress, I would need to open up. How do I share my secret? My answer came in graphology (handwriting analysis). Little did I know that becoming a Certified Graphologist and changing my handwriting would give me the confidence and ability to connect and share my secret with another person. I learned that certain stroke marks in handwriting can change your life, for example, cursive writing indicates connection. I spent six intense weeks learning how to write cursive. This enabled me to connect my letters, and in turn, to connect with other people.
Share and bless others: Next I decided to self publish my memoir, ITALICS:Treachery To Triumph: Inescapable...from Brutality. Knowing others were going to read my story made me quiver to my core. The fear of being mocked concerning my secret made me shatter like glass. Hiding no longer was an option now. There the agony rest on the pages of my story, screaming thoughts of mockery, trumping the abuse I had endured long ago. No, no, no! I can’t be known at this deep of a level.
With sheer determination and hope, I fought the desire to hide and run away. Finally, my readers got back to me. To my astonishment they praised me for my courage, showering me with kindness and love, melting away the sting of being mocked.
Love yourself: I came to love myself through meditation and silence. Touching my inner-self brought me understanding of who I am. The beauties of life began to heal my deep wounds, showering me with calmness and value.
The search for healing came to me through hope, openness, writing, sharing, meditation, and loving myself.
You are divine – an absolute miracle. How do I know that? Because you have 30-40 trillion cells in your body, according to a story in medicalnewstoday.com. These cells play a unique role, giving you the gift of life.
Remember, in those dark moments when dealing with trauma, there is hope. Reach out to someone you can talk to. Sharing binds us together. Oftentimes our stories weave into threads of similarities of other people's stories, and we come to learn we aren't alone.
Members of the Rose Park Scout Troop 28 (which is now co-ed) participated in the Westpointe/Jordan Meadows Night Out Celebration on August 6. A large teepee drew people to the their festival booth.
This Pacific Islander dance group was among the groups who performed for the crowd of festivalgoers at Westpointe and Jordan Meadows’ joint community celebration, which included candidates for SLC Mayor.
Photos by Terry Marasco
Groove in the Grove
Poplar Grove and Glendale Community Councils put on a grand Groove in the Grove celebration on August 6 at the SLC Pioneer Police Precinct. Firefighters from nearby Station 6 passed out goodie bags for the kids and Pacific Islander group, Malialole, entertained neighbors on that hot summer evening.
Photos by David Ricketts
Craft Lake City
Craft Lake City’s DIY (Do It Yourself) Festival was held at its new home at the Utah State Fair Park. This 11th annual festival, which takes place during the 2nd week of August every year in Salt Lake City, showcased the crafts of hundreds of talented, Utah artisans. Festivalgoers enjoyed live, local music on two outdoor stages and a hip VIP lounge.
KRCL 90.9 FM was broadcasting live from a canvas booth located between the STEM Building and the Makers Building. The historic Fairpark structures – The Grand Building (dubbed Dreamers’ Building), Promontory Hall and Bonneville Fine Arts, provided ample room for visitors and exhibitors to enjoy the festival and escape the late summer heat. There were more attendees inside than strollers outside at any given time.
Leaders from Bear’s Ears Tribal coalition and their allies gathered at the Utah State Capitol during the first day of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference on August 26. The next day, they participated in a “Taking the Waters” ceremony at Warm Springs Park in Salt Lake City – an area historically regarded as sacred to indigenous people.
10,000 Allies Gatherings brought together activists from a wide spectrum of social, environmental, and civil causes – defending Bear’s Ears National Monument, bringing attention to missing and murdered indigenous women, protesting the Inland Port, and advocating for clean air and water, to name a few.
Davina Smith, a Diné (Navajo) woman and Executive Director of the SLC Air Protectors, led allies on a 330-mile Prayer Run that started from the Four Corners on August 13. Allies took turns running alongside Davina as she covered approximately 26 miles per day.
Prayer runners and allies brought sacred items, or medicine bundles, to hold their prayers in and placed them on the steps of the Utah State Capitol. Smith brought a medicine bag filled with sacred herbs blessed by a medicine man in the Bear’s Ears National Monument. Later she participated in a panel discussion at the U.N. Civil Society Conference.
North Temple seems to have taken a turn for the worse since the temporary police station was vacated in May. Besides an uptick in loitering and littering in front of the former Arctic Circle property, a woman was shot and killed in broad daylight on August 15. While police crime statistics for District 2 seem to be flat, the property crimes of burglary and auto theft increased a bit last May.
The Gateway Inn was sold and the new owner, David Pope, seems to have relaxed the standards employed by the previous owners who faced a nuisance ordinance violation. Pope also owns the Main Street Motel further south. Nearby residents have complained about its operation and there was a woman murdered there last October.
The River District Chamber recently sent a letter to the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office asking for additional police help on North Temple including re-opening the temporary police station, restoring camera surveillance and starting nuisance ordinance violation proceedings against David Pope. The property owner who owns the former Arctic Circle location has agreed to again host the police at his location. He also revealed the property is being sold and the plan is to redevelop multi-family housing.
A feasibility study for the development of a Public Market at or near the Fairpark is in its final stages. The technical advisory committee decided on a phased approach to the Market concept which will include an evening market and other programming which will activate the Fairpark more frequently. The firm doing the study should release its results to the RDA by the end of the year.
The art installation on North Temple will have its public opening on September 16 at 11 a.m. with a walking tour starting at Mestizo Coffee House and ending at Red Iguana 2. This is a project several years in the making, which is one of the many steps necessary to transform North Temple’s image.
While North Temple seems to have taken a step backwards, the coming investment by businesses, the Fairpark and other government organizations tells me this setback is only temporary.
Nigel Swaby is a Fairpark resident, and Chair of the River District Chamber.