Inspiring the Multicultural Leaders of Tomorrow
Two annual events for the Division of Multicultural Affairs reinforce the importance of encouraging the youth of today to embrace leadership in their schools and communities.Every fall, the division hosts students in grades 7th through 9th at the Multicultural Youth Leadership Summit. This event supports the Governor's college and career readiness education initiative, the Utah Education Roadmap.
To encourage participation by the state's underserved communities in rural areas, the division began offering travel grants to schools. Through this outreach initiative, the division provided grants totaling $2,000 to 14 schools from seven counties for transportation and lodging expenses.
Due to this targeted and strategic outreach and financial support to underserved and underrepresented schools, the summit hosted more than 750 conference participants from nine school districts and one charter school. The estimated share of minority population among the schools went from 12 percent to 27 percent, the calculated distance between the conference center and the schools ranged from 8 miles to 190 miles, and 50 percent of the grant applicants indicated that they had not attended a previous conference with their current school.
Multicultural Leadership Day at the Capitol
Every year, the frenzy of the legislative session brings with it the excitement of seeing how state government works firsthand. For many high school students, attending Multicultural Youth Leadership Day at the Capitol is marked by the potential their future holds.
The annual leadership day event is for high school aged students and educators in 10-12th grades. This dynamic and civically focused event took place on March 2019, to help promote the importance of being informed and involved Utah citizens. More than 250 students and teachers attended from Utah school districts, including Canyons, Granite, Jordan, Murray City, Provo City, Salt Lake City, and Tooele.
The Multicultural Affairs director engaged various community stakeholders interested in building the capacity of their equity, diversity, inclusion programs across Utah’s broader society through community meetings, conferences, trainings and committee events. This included participation with the Utah Complete Count Committee, which is working to ensure an accurate count of Utahns in the 2020 Census. The director provided culturally specific suggestions to improve outreach strategies to marginalized and underrepresented communities.
The Utah State Legislature codified in statute the commission and Division of Multicultural Affairs during the 2019 general session. The Multicultural Commission has 25 official members who come from state agencies and community organizations. The Multicultural Affairs director engaged the commissioners interested in building the capacity of their equity, diversity, inclusion programs across Utah to better serve and create access for multicultural communities. The commission and director also created the “Inclusion and Equity Call to Action – Senior Leader Toolkit” and the “123 Pledge for Equity."
The MLK Commission serves the people of Utah and involves all sectors—public and private—in a conscious effort to promote diversity, equity and human rights as well as elevate statewide initiatives around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Under new chair Emma Houston, the commission approved a strategic plan in FY19. The MLK Commission streamlined internal planning processes for the King Conversation Series, which are dialogue-based events discussing human rights related issues. They are developing an ongoing partnership with the Utah Jazz to address internal practices through bystander tools and youth engagement. In January, the commission, in partnership with the Utah Jazz, honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day through youth service clinics and an MLK night during a Jazz home game.
The Division of Multicultural Affairs tracks performance measures based around participation in the annual youth leadership events.
Number of students attending youth leadership events annually. GOAL: 1,000
Number of schools represented at youth leadership events annually. GOAL: 53
Multicultural Affairs was established by Executive Order in 2012 to develop culturally diverse outreach programs for Utah’s multicultural community. The office recognizes the importance of developing relationships within Utah’s diverse ethnic communities to achieve its vision and mission. The state is experiencing a rapidly changing demographic and with this growth is the rich and traditional heritage of the ethnic population that Multicultural Affairs shares through community outreach.