Sidewalks + Snow = Danger

snow-removal.png❄️❄️ Happy snow day! We hope everyone has had a safe and warm day indoors on this wintry day. As we've watched the snow come in we've been reminded of the crucial role that shoveled sidewalks play into keeping our neighbors and loved ones safe.

Each day people throughout the state depend on sidewalks as a primary form of transportation - to school, work, and home. Without clear sidewalks, people can be left walking in unsafe and dangerous conditions. This is especially true for our neighbors who have disabilities or experience mobility challenges.

Thank you to everyone who has kept their sidewalks safe and clear for every person's use! Share this to raise awareness of the importance of clear sidewalks and say thank you to everyone who spent time shoveling their sidewalk today. ❄️ ❄️

Remembering Rosa Parks

Rosa-Parks.pngHappy Birthday, Rosa Parks, born February 4th, 1913. Today we reflect on the importance of the moral leadership that Rosa demonstrated. The symbolism of a working woman riding public transportation who sparked a movement is not lost on us. We stand in awe and remembrance of this bright light.

Her legacy should serve as a reminder of the importance of those willing to challenge the values of our community. It also illustrates the significance of public transit and calls us to build comprehensive and equitable public transit services for our modern era.

74 Years Since Korematsu v. United States

74 years ago today the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Korematsu v. United States. This case concerned the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. In a 6–3 decision, the Court upheld the abhorrent practice of forcing Japanese Americans to relocate to camps.

Today we remember Fred T. Korematsu an under-celebrated national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity. As Utahns and Americans, we owe it to ourselves to grapple with the difficult parts of our history and to commit to a more positive future.

As we contemplate our history, we must learn from it and seek to implement policies that reflect that values of our community. In the upcoming legislative session, we will be working to introduce legislation to create a statewide day of reflection about the legacy of Japanese American internment.

Celebrating Bill of Rights Day 2018

Today we celebrate the Bill of Rights during National Bill of Rights Day. Many of our most cherished rights as citizens - including many that each of us takes for granted every day are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. But the Bill of Rights was not an original part of the Constitution. The creation of the Bill of Rights was one of the first major compromises made to create our nation. These rights were enacted through the Massachusetts Compromise.

The compromise helped gather enough support for the Constitution to ensure its ratification and lead to the adoption of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution - which spell out our rights as Americans. These 10 amendments guarantee civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, press, and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the states.

Bitton: Salt Lake City should try ranked-choice voting


Salt Lake City’s upcoming mayoral election is shaping up to be to feature an impressive field of candidates.

Over the next year, candidates with impressive résumés and a range of experience will make their case to residents. This broad range of candidates with such a depth of knowledge showcases the very best of our city. Each has a different vision for the future of our home, and we shouldn’t shortchange ourselves by having only two choices in the primary.

We should ditch our August primary and let all candidates compete for votes through November – by enacting ranked-choice voting.

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153 Years Since The Abolition of Slavery

13th-amendment.png153 years ago today the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified - ending the practice of slavery in our country. 

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155 Years Since the Gettysburg Address


President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address 155 years ago today. While it was not widely celebrated in his time, the speech has come to be one of the most famous speeches ever given by an American president. Below is a transcript of the speech.

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Resident Councils: Democracy At Its Best

The lives of long-term care community residents are heavily controlled by laws, rules, and policies set by the government and the nursing facility. Residents often have to undergo significant lifestyle changes due to health problems and the close quarters within which residents live. These changes and the rules of care facilities can make nursing facility residents feel like their opinions and preferences do not matter. Many residents struggle with adapting to life in a care community despite the best efforts of the staff and leadership of the community.

Earlier this month we coordinated an effort to have Governor Gary Herbert declare October as National Long-Term Residents Rights Month. We are focused in particular on the right of residents to form resident councils in their communities because we believe in the power of democracy to create consensus, build community, and solve problems.

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Governor Herbert Declares October as National Long-Term Residents Rights Month

Governor Gary Herbert has "National Long-Term Residents Rights Month" in Utah. We are pleased to join the countless residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities along with their family members, citizen advocates, facility staff, and others who are honoring the rights of long-term care residents this month. This special annual event is held each October by our friends at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) to celebrate and focus on awareness of dignity, respect and the value of long-term care residents. 

We are honored to have requested the proclamation from Governor Herbert. It is an opportunity to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the rights of each resident. The federal Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents’ rights and places a strong emphasis on individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. The law also requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident”. 

This month we will celebrate the cherished rights of residents to form resident councils and utilize neighborhood democracy to promote better care for themselves. Resident councils can play a crucial role in voicing concerns, requesting improvements, and supporting new residents. 

Care facilities are more than building and we're working to make sure that facilities are viewed as communities rather than just buildings. Residents of care facilities know that these special places are a complete neighborhood in one building with unique residents, needs, and issues. We believe that neighborhood democracy should apply to all neighborhoods - regardless of their uniqueness - including care facilities. 

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Utah Center for Civic Improvement Affiliates With National Digital Inclusion Alliance

We are very pleased to announce our official affiliation with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. We're excited to partner with them to advocate for home high-speed internet access, personal devices, and local technology adoption. We know that access to our increasingly digital world is the bedrock of prosperity for communities throughout Utah.

Digital_Inclusion.pngDigital Inclusion means empowering people through information and communication technologies. Our work includes sharing information and raising awareness related to public policy and community practices that promote digital inclusion. It is imperative that every community - rural and urban - have access to broadband internet, high-quality digital infrastructure, and the digital technologies that will define the next century. 

We recognize that in our modern world digital skills and accessibility are critical social determinants of health because they affect the ability of residents to meaningfully interact with economic and social opportunities in our community. Our work with neighborhood democracy initiatives focuses on preparing them to engage in evidence-informed practices that support digital inclusion efforts. 

Our new partnership will allow us to further meet the needs of our community and promote digital inclusion across the state. We look forward to the work ahead.