WFRC mourns the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other people of color throughout our nation’s history. We acknowledge society’s deeply rooted racism and inequities.
These killings should heighten our resolve to address the pronounced gaps in justice and opportunity for communities of color in our nation. We reaffirm the right of all people to peacefully assemble and petition our government without fear of retribution. We deeply regret those situations where such public expression has included acts of vandalism and further violence.
WFRC will continue to engage with and listen more intently to communities marginalized by structural racism. We will strive to involve more diverse voices in our work, especially committing to elevating the voices of Utah’s racial and ethnic minorities. And we will continue to provide decision-makers with better information that promotes social justice and equity, addresses pervasive racism, and assists with improving economic opportunities for all Utahns.
In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “To grow from within, [one] needs only fair opportunity for jobs, education, housing and access to culture." Providing access to opportunities is core to our work. Yet, for WFRC and member communities in our region, there is more work to be done to make transportation and communities work better for our most vulnerable citizens. Getting to education, jobs and services tends to take more time and a greater percentage of household income for residents with limited means.
WFRC acknowledges that land use and transportation policies have a long history of perpetuating racial and economic segregation in America, and we are committed to identifying solutions for positive change. As the racial and ethnic diversity of Utah continues to increase, and as Utah and our nation seeks to promote health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must commit to promoting equitable access for all Utahns to opportunities for employment, education, medical care, and outdoor recreation.
Increasing access to opportunities can have significant impacts on overall community livability, while breaking down barriers to individual and family upward economic mobility. Accessibility means people are able to easily, efficiently, and safely reach jobs, schools, healthcare, parks, places of worship, and grocery stores. Unfortunately, some communities of color and lower-income communities in the United States and in Utah have disproportionately less access to opportunities than predominantly white or higher-income communities; this can have negative implications for employment, health, and overall well-being. More information about access to opportunities for lower income and minority communities in our region can be found here.
In the near future WFRC will provide additional information regarding the changing demographics of our region, and what we can do as individual communities, as a region, and as a state to make access to opportunities more equitable for all Utahns.