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University of Utah celebrates Black History Month with day of reflection and learning

Posted at 8:37 AM, Feb 07, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is preparing for a "Day of Collective Action" to inspire learning and reflection during Black History Month.

It's the second year the event has taken place and it's happening Wednesday.

University leaders say the goal of the event is to provide members of the campus community with a chance to learn, reflect and find ways to work together to address, hate, harmful behaviors, and bias.

"It’s important to recognize that," explained David Hawkins-Jacinto, Sr. Communications Manager for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, University of Utah. "The connection, also the students who are coming here, to create a sense of belonging. We talk a lot about creating an inclusive climate, and that’s a big part of it.”

Because of the diverse makeup of the student body and staff at the University of Utah, leaders say it's essential that difficult conversations happen.

"So we are going through this journey as a campus learning how to engage with difficult topics, difficult dialogue,” explained Bryan Hubain, Associate VP for student development & inclusion.

The timing of the "Day of Collective Actions" comes during Black History month and just after the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"That principle of choosing love over hate seems central to kind of healing divides," Hubain said. "The division that we see not just here in Utah, but across the country.”

Hubain and Hawkins-Jacinto hope one day, a day like this won't be necessary and inclusion and acceptance will be even more widespread.

“I would say my ideal goal and dream is to not have to do this work," Hawkins-Jacinto said. "I just want to be able to like, 'let’s say open a waffle shop.' But until then, this is something that really engages me and pushes me.”

A complete rundown of tomorrow’s events is available here.