James Brown, a community activist draws applause as he speaks to the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights on Wednesday.

Joint Statement Following the Death of George Floyd

The Department of Heritage & Arts stands with the Multicultural Commission, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission on Human Rights, and Governor Gary R. Herbert in mourning the death of George Floyd. Members of the two commissions and the governor, who all met in an emergency meeting Wednesday, issued the following statement that we, as a department, fully endorse.

The statement reads:

“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the brutal and inhumane murder of Mr. George Floyd and the many lives taken before him. Their deaths have prompted the community to pause and reflect how racism and injustice affects everyone individually and collectively in our daily lives, but also to consider how it is uniquely felt by communities of color.  

We grieve alongside their families, friends, community and the nation. Together, we must play a role in demonstrating compassion, dignity, and respect, as neighbors, co-workers, and parents to foster a more welcoming, inclusive, accessible and equitable community and world to live in.

We are here to make the necessary call for us all to work together, to help one another, to listen intentionally to those who feel unheard, to be braver and better, to create the solution for such a time as this, and commit to eradicate racism from our thoughts, words, deeds and actions.  We cannot regulate the hearts of others, but we can surely hold them accountable and continually work to change our own for greater empathy and indignation when we witness harm against another. 

Those of us, and all who oppose violence and oppression against any group of people, must be the most committed and vocal advocates for justice. 

We know that America’s “sin” of racism is still too prevalent. People from marginalized communities who suffer everyday indignities and who now march to protest the deeply rooted historical and systemic oppression are looking to each of us to say in words and actions, “no more.” 

The time to usher in change and healing is now. The time to learn from our history that tells a tale of a divided nation can guide us to do better and to fiercely work to achieve equity and inclusion in our policies and practices. 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission, the Multicultural Commission, and the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs stand in solidarity with Utah leadership, stakeholders, community members and trusted leaders to declare that what happened to Mr. George Floyd is now the catalyst to transform the  fabric of America into a  tapestry of equity and racial justice for all. 

We look forward to advancing efforts for change and creating a Utah where families of all races and backgrounds feel safe, heard, and valued.”