Equality Utah will take its gala online because of COVID surge

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, celebrates Utah banning conversion therapy for minors in 2020. Equality Utah has canceled its scheduled fundraising gala because of the surge in COVID-19.

A year after Equality Utah was forced to cancel its annual gala because of COVID-19, the organization had big plans for 2021 — a return to the Eccles Theater in October.

But with the ongoing coronavirus surge caused by the delta variant, Equality Utah has scrapped those plans and will instead schedule a series of virtual events.

“We had hoped that the conditions surrounding COVID-19 and the delta variant would continue to improve,” executive director Troy Williams emailed supporters. “Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

Instead of the in-person gala, Equality Utah will sponsor a series of online events from Sept. 7-Oct. 7 — specifics are pending. But the organization felt it had no choice.

(Equality Utah) Because of the surge in the coronavirus, Equality Utah has canceled its scheduled gala.

“After reviewing the incoming data on the surging virus, we have decided” that this is “the safest path forward,” Williams wrote. “We would love to gather with you in person, but quite simply we just don’t know what the transmission rates will be like on October 2.”

It’s a blow to Equality Utah. “We need this fundraiser to continue our crucial work achieving legal and lived equality for all Utahns,” according to Williams. “The Allies Gala funds our work on Capitol Hill, ensuring that the laws in our state include and protect our community.”

Instead, the group is soliciting donations online.