Herriman City Council wants to promote connection, not diversityMar 29, 2022 09:01PM ● By Justin Adams
The Herriman City Council recently debated the merits of creating a new committee focused on diversity and inclusion. (City Journals file photo)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Last month, the Herriman City Council held a discussion about two committees that new Mayor Lorin Palmer proposed creating. One was highlighted in last month’s Journal in an article about economic development. The second was a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.”
“A lot of cities have started putting these in place over the last two years. The larger cities have had these kinds of committees for several years. They’re designed to increase the city’s capacity to engage across their community and to celebrate the differences of their community,” said Assistant City Manager Tami Moody, who worked with Palmer to research how other cities in Utah have handled similar committees.
One city they looked at was Draper, because of its similarities to Herriman. Last year, they formed a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Just within the first few months of its existence, it organized a donation drive of hygiene supplies for refugees, sponsored a poster contest for Black History Month and highlighted women-owned businesses for Women’s History Month.
Since mentioning the idea of such a committee in previous meetings, Palmer said he had been contacted by multiple people from under-represented populations who were very interested in getting involved with such a committee.
“To me, both of these committees are saying 'We are Herriman.' We want to celebrate our differences and celebrate what we have out here,” Palmer said.
Not everyone on the council agreed.
“I have an issue with the phrase ‘celebrate differences’ because I’d rather focus on celebrating the things we have in common, because I think it’s our differences that divide us and it’s our similarities that bring us together,” said Councilmember Sherrie Ohrn.
Councilmember Jared Henderson echoed that sentiment, saying that anytime you single out a group, it drives a wedge between people. He said he’d be more comfortable with a broader group that’s about Herriman culture. “A ‘We Are Herriman’ committee,” he suggested.
Councilmember Steven Shields also took issue with the name of the proposed committee.
“I like the idea, but if it has the name ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,’ I will vote no, every time, all the time… with hostility. Equity is a disgusting word. It’s anti-American, stupid and evil,” he said.
Moody suggested that orienting the committee around reaching out to under-represented groups is important because it can “break down barriers” that might prevent someone from feeling like they belong in Herriman.
Ohrn, however, said those barriers are often “self-imposed.”
“That’s simply who they are,” she said.
The council settled on continuing to explore the possibility of creating a committee to promote community cohesion, possibly called something along the lines of “Herriman Connected Committee.”