The West View

The West View

by Søren D. Simonsen

Like many in our community, I was alarmed by a September report in National Geographic Magazine, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News about a massive decline in North American bird populations, with some calling it a “crisis.”

A scientific report published in October 2019 in the highly regarded academic journal, “Science,” indicates that total wild bird population has decreased by 3 billion, or 29 percent, since 1970. The birds most impacted are grassland species, which have declined by over half, and shore bird species, which have declined by one third. Top reasons cited for the declining populations are loss of food source, primarily insects, and loss of habitat.

 Natural Hazards map EDITSNatural Hazards Map and description (p, 10) from the Northwest Quadrant Master Plan, which highlights the extensive wetlands, and extreme seismic risk for building in the undeveloped portions of the Northwest Quadrant

Utah’s Inland Port, a massive proposal to extend industrial development into some of the most sensitive wildlife habitat areas in Utah along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, will be devastating for the very reasons cited in the bird population report – loss of wetland and upland habitat, and decimation of insect populations.

The extensive shoreline wetlands and uplands are a breeding ground for billions of bugs, and mosquito and insect abatement is already being carried out in earnest as development in this sensitive area plows forward.

The loss of this primary food source to the millions of birds that feed in this area will be further exacerbated as upland grasslands are covered by sprawling rooftops and pavement.

The implications are global in their impact, as this ecosystem sustains one of the largest migratory routes for birds in the Western Hemisphere. These wetlands and uplands provide a resting and nesting area for hundreds of species and millions of birds each year, along with other permanent bird species such as raptors and songbirds, as well as mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

In 1928, just over 90 years ago, 80,000 acres were preserved for the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge at the northern region of the Great Salt Lake. Today, we must set our sights on a preserve of this magnitude for the other major Great Salt Lake tributary – the Jordan River.

This area of the Inland Port was long ago the Jordan River delta. And even though the present day Jordan River channel has meandered east due to the slow geomorphology of the region, at least 50 percent of the Jordan River, and much more during peak runoff, flows through the Inland Port area via the Surplus Canal. It’s all a connected web of life.

While we, as a region, are collectively working to preserve every acre and scrap of open space along the Jordan River to restore natural river functions and habitat, these efforts pale when compared to the loss of thousands and thousands of acres of prime habitat at the south shore of the Great Salt Lake now exposed to development.

Building green is not enough. Sustainable building begins with the premise, like the hippocratic oath of physicians, to “first, do no harm.”

We know factually that this is not an ideal place to build. The high water table, extreme seismic liquefaction risk, and a host of other environmental factors beyond the wildlife impact make it among the poorest quality and most expensive places to build in Utah. This is confirmed by the ongoing, extraordinary cost escalations of the State Prison now under construction.

It is, however, an ideal place to construct (conserve, restore, remediate) homes and habitat for wildlife.

Our community values and vision for the environment and conservation are clearly articulated in city plans such as Plan Salt Lake that encourage our collective efforts to “expand natural lands and watershed protection acreage…[promote] best practices in stewardship of natural lands, and…[reduce] habitat fragmentation.” The realization of this vision will be challenging, but it has never been more important. 

Some will argue that current entitlement of private land for development precludes its preservation. This argument simply acknowledges a lack of imagination, innovation and resolve. We have seen large scale preservation of entitled land of this magnitude at the Swaner Preserve in Summit County, for example.

Specific tools such as transfer and acquisition of development rights, conservation easements, and others are used routinely in forward-thinking communities across the U.S. We need these tools in our sensitive land preservation tool box, and we need to use them.

If we are serious about issues like sustainability and resiliency, wildlife and habitat preservation, fiscal responsibility, reducing our environmental impact, and responding to the climate crisis, then we must explore every option to NOT build on the remaining undeveloped land north of I-80 and west of 5600 West.

Business as usual is both unrealistic and unacceptable in the twenty-first century.

This special place is not just about the birds. It is about our own future, and the world we want to leave behind. We must set our sights on the highest and best we can accomplish.

Søren Simonsen is Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission. He has worked to create livable communities and resilient places in Utah and the West for over 30 years.


By Calvin Mumm

Over the course of the last year I’ve been producing a documentary. The film, “Sown,” focuses on how gun violence impacts students emotionally and socially.

When I was pitching my film nearly a year ago, SpyHop’s producers board asked me what my target audience was. It's a simple question, and considering the scale of my film, it's not one that matters very much. 

However, looking at these producers, I saw that for older generations this was an issue they hadn’t experienced, and further, it was alien and distant to many of them. Knowing this, I had to make something that captured the essence of America’s students honestly; a documentary that captures what may be obvious to many students, but likely unknown to others.

Cinema itself reflects our reality, perspectives, and the revelations of our lives through emotional and aesthetic communication. The documentary format is often seen as merely recording reality, but all cinema shares that. For me, documentary gave me the chance to tell the cohesive story of a generation, their struggles, and how they’ve been ignored. Using each individual’s perspective with branching and similar ideas, a narrative becomes clear, almost shockingly so.

Such was the case for my interviews. Each student came to similar sentiments, ideas, and unrest from their experiences. Even without the same questions, students were quick to mention how events like Parkland impacted them, their isolation from government action, and the various ways it has all become normalized for them.

Editing down our rough cut from the near five hours of interview footage we had was difficult. Each student put into words the nuanced insecurities we feel every day as students because of gun violence. If I am to be completely honest, the editing process of this film was consistently depressing. Few subjects expressed any hope for change, and sadly their sentiments seem to be correct for now.

After the premiere for my film at Rose Wagner Theatre in November, a viewer told me that my specific interview subjects were the only ones who could’ve told such an honest story, but I disagree. The experiences I showcased in my film could be told by most contemporary American students.

My school has been subject to several incidents involving guns this year, and we are not even halfway through our school year. This may be shocking to some, but the reality is that for most students this is rather common.

Most students in the nation have had some encounter with gun violence, legitimate or otherwise. Threats, drills, and lockdowns are more commonplace now than we may like to admit. We are in a “post-Columbine” world, where the anomalies in our safety and security are no longer exceptions but expectations.

As a high school student affected by threats of gun violence, I want to encourage common sense gun reform, but it’s up to those who have the power to change things – our elected officials, adult voters, and consumers – to consider our perspective and take action.

It may be inconvenient or difficult, but I believe the essence of our humanity is stepping up when we don’t have to, and helping others in the ways they can’t help themselves.

Calvin Mumm is a resident of Fairpark and a senior at West High. He made his film, “Sown,” as part of SpyHop’s Pitchnic Program and is currently applying to college film programs.

By Richard O’Keef

Many parents get frustrated and angry over their children’s behavior. Children can be a real challenge with behaviors ranging from whining, teasing, tantrums, ignoring, sibling rivalry, to saying “no,” back-talking, being defiant, and worse, doing horrible things that seem cold and cruel; things that cause parents to think, “How could you do this to me?”

Consider this. Most unwanted behaviors are symptoms of a deeper issue. Misbehavior is not random. There is a reason for everything children do. Once we understand what drives their behavior, then we can understand how to change it.

All children are born with two emotional needs that must be met. These needs are wired into every child’s brain, although the child is not consciously aware of it. Every child craves to have these needs met. They can’t help but seek after them. If parents meet these needs in positive ways, misbehavior decreases and cooperation increases. Here are the two needs: 1) The need for a sense of belonging, and 2) The need for a sense of personal power.

Let’s look at the need to feel a sense of belonging. To a child, belonging means to feel important, noticed, included, accepted and loved. Each one yearns for his parent’s undivided attention and approval. When a child does not feel a sense of belonging, he feels ignored, left out and rejected, and a child cannot bear to feel that way. So even though a child is not consciously aware of it, he is constantly looking for ways to feel like he belongs.

If a child does not feel a sense of belonging, he will go after it on his own. He will discover that whining, teasing, acting helpless, interrupting, and other negative attention-getting behaviors will get the attention he requires.

A sense of personal power means to feel significant, empowered, and have the freedom to choose. That’s why children love to explore and experiment – and get into mischief. It’s how they start to become independent, and ultimately, isn’t that what we want them to become: independent, able to think for themselves and take care of themselves? That starts with the need for personal power.

If a child does not feel a sense of personal power, she will go after it, and the easiest way to feel personal power is to simply say “no” to a request or demand. When she discovers that refusing to obey brings a feeling of personal power, she will repeat that behavior. Choosing to obey is the one thing she has complete control over no matter what her age.

If we meet these two powerful needs in positive ways, children have no reason to meet these needs on their own, and behavior improves.

One of the most effective ways to meet these two emotional needs is to spend one-on-one time with each child. Here’s the ideal way to use this skill. Spend at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time everyday with each of your children, doing what your child wants to do.

This gives them what they most desperately want from you: your complete attention. If they can get that, their negative attention-seeking behaviors are no longer needed.

Spending personal time with each child also helps meet their need to feel a sense of personal power. Personal power is the freedom to choose. When you allow the child to choose the activity, you reduce the child’s desire to meet that need in negative ways.

I asked my 5-year old grandson what he wanted just the two of us to do together. He wanted to go to the park. So we went. “Look at me, grandpa. Come over here, grandpa. Push me, grandpa.” He had my full attention with no competition from his siblings. At one point, he looked up and me and said, “I’m the boss of you, huh, grandpa.” I had to smile because I knew I was meeting his two emotional needs.

Parents in my parenting workshops have reported that after only two or three days of spending one-on-one time with their children, they noticed a positive change in their children’s behavior. I think you will too.

Richard O’Keef is a long-time resident of the Westpointe community, father of six children, and has 18 grandchildren. He is the author of 3-Step Parenting – How to Replace Misbehavior with Cooperation (Available on Amazon). He teaches parenting workshops in Salt Lake City and can be reached at .

By Katharine Biele

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

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.

By Charles P. Hoy-Ellis

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
  • ArtsBridge      


  • West View Media
  • Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office 
  • Sorenson Unity Center
  • Spy Hop 
  • ArtsBridge  
  • KRCL


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

Workshop Sessions:

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

By Jenette Purdy

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
Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT  84088) 

pdfInfo sheet

September 18, 2019

Healing from Trauma

By Annette Richards

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 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.

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