A bipartisan lineup of elected officials, along with community religious and ethnic leaders, spoke at an event at the state capitol Wednesday morning, proclaiming support for diversity in Utah.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, who organized the event, alluded to its connection to post-election anxiety, without ever specifically identifying President-Elect Donald Trump. "We've been receiving quite a few phone calls from people who are uncertain about what the future holds," McAdams said. "This is a message of Thanksgiving to the new Americans."
"Today, we come together as Utahns to reaffirm Utah's values of compassion and humanity," he added.
In addition to McAdams, speakers included Republican Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, Democratic House Minority Leader Brian King, Salt Lake Chamber president Lane Beattie, Utah Muslim community leader Noor Ul-Hasan, and Pastor Rev. France Davis from Calvary Baptist Church.
Speakers frequently referenced the Utah Compact
, the 2010-2011 bipartisan declaration of principles addressing the state's approach to immigration policy and treatment of immigrants. "[The Utah Compact] was historic in that it demonstrated what we can do in one state," Rep. King said. "I'd like to hope that we can go forward in the same way."
Rep. Hughes said, "You're seeing that this is a bipartisan effort. ... It is in our culture that most of us our immigrants from somewhere. In this country, we have each other's backs. The American dream is for every single one of us. I refuse, politically, to allow anyone to leverage people's fears of the unknown."
"I think he is often wrong about many, many issues," Mayor McAdams, a Democrat, said of Hughes, to the accompaniment of much laughter from the assembled crowd. "But in Utah we discuss our disagreements."
Rev. Davis said, "There ought not be any reason that any of us is fearful for being here. We're hear to work, and to ensure that each of us is given an opportunity to make our contributions."