The governor praised Utah's growing religious and ethnic diversity, noting that more than 120 languages are spoken in the state.
Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, who sponsored the resolution, noted that his grandfather came to the Beehive State as an immigrant to work on the railroad. His wife's relatives, he said, came as Mormon pioneers, seeking refuge from persecution.
Immigrants contribute much to the state, he said.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek and the resolution's floor sponsor, pointed to some 150 recent threats against Jewish institutions in particular, including one in Utah.
In late January, for instance, bomb threats targeted Jewish facilities nationwide, including Salt Lake City's I.J. and Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center.
Such scares are meant to "spread fear and division," Arent said. "We must speak out. We cannot let these be normalized. We must oppose all forms of intolerance. We need to work together to put a stop to hateful acts."
Khosrow Semnani, community philanthropist and businessman, came to Utah from Iran nearly five decades ago. He was headed to California, he said, but liked Utah more.
The state is "unique," Semnani said. "It is a model, in many ways, of tolerance and openness to minorities."
More than 70 religious and community leaders were on hand in the Gold Room of the state Capitol for the speeches, the signing and the singing by the Bulbuli Children's Choir (Islamic Society of the Bosniaks) — including a sweet rendition of "America the Beautiful," by mostly young girls in headscarves.
These singers "are the future," Herbert said. "That's why it's bright, indeed."
Responding to Semnani's quip about having an accent, the governor said, "We all speak with an accent. Mine's from Utah County."
Much more remains to be done in the community to curb these tensions, he said. "We need to work together — each in our own center of influence — to make sure there is civility and goodness for all."
The resolution issues no mandate against hateful, divisive actions, Pamela Atkinson said, but the longtime advocate for the homeless was pleased by what she called a "first step."
It expressed important sentiments despite being little more than a symbolic gesture, said Jean Hill of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. The wording shows the world that such mean-spiritedness and incivility are "not who we are."