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Utah Black Chamber book celebrates excellence in Utah Black community

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 15:42:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Black Chamber is releasing a book called “Black Utah: Stories From a Thriving Community.”

“Let's just have them share their experience, them being all the people we interviewed, and just keep it raw,” said James Jackson, III, the founder of the Utah Black Chamber. “Raw and simple.”

Jackson wanted to present a diverse range of voices in the book to share different perspectives from members of Utah’s Black community.

The book includes stories from entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, activists and others.

“I enjoy being called upon to volunteer to make a change and make a difference,” said business owner Byron Russell.

Artist Liz Lambson, who also serves as the director of the Utah Black History Museum, believes art is a valuable medium to spotlight community. She helped create the Black Lives Matter mural outside of city hall in Salt Lake City.

“I feel here [in Utah] people do value my voice and have invited me to be a part of this community in a meaningful way,” she said. “Putting artwork out there in Utah that depicts Black people, I feel helps people recognize there is a Black community here. It's present and we are people worth including.”

Lambson and others who share their stories in the book acknowledge there is work that must be done to create a more equitable environment in Utah.

“We talk about the number of Black people who own houses. Let's also look at the number of Black children who are taking music lessons,” she said.

“We live in a state where there is amazing opportunity,” Russell added. “Instead of pointing fingers, it's a means of thinking, what do we have to do to remove barriers and hurdles?”

The Utah Black Chamber and Visit Salt Lake will celebrate the launch of the book at an event at the Visit Salt Lake Visitor Center on Thursday, February 24 from 4:30-6:30 pm.