“Let’s help the rising generation to appreciate who they are, and where they came from, and what they have. … More importantly, let’s help them believe that they too can be pioneers, by embracing the principles of the pioneering life, and overcoming their own obstacles and trials to make their own dreams come true.”
But if you are LQBTQ, you are not in the Days of ’47’s vision of Utah celebrated during the Pioneer Day parade.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has been making a lot of news by not being places recently. She was off speaking at a conference in Mexico when the Legislature took over a third of the city’s land and created the inland port. She refused to be in the room when the City Council achieved a compromise that minorly improved the inland port bill during a recent special session. However, she was perfectly happy sitting on the back of a convertible smiling and waving at the parade crowds while the members of Mormons Building Bridges were sitting at home.
Her argument last year was that it was a strong message for the mayor and her wife to be seen together at the discriminatory parade. That is very true, and that fact was highlighted when KSL decided not to air video of her car in the parade or even acknowledge her presence. At what point do you become complicit in the discrimination?
Mayor Biskupski, your inactions on the inland port are now on your political record. Negotiating with a hostile conservative Legislature and governor is part of the job description of being the mayor of a liberal city in a sea of red, and you chose to walk away from the table.
The irony is not lost on me that, while you were off being recognized in Mexico for your commitment on taking climate action and tackling air quality, the Legislature was stealing land from Salt Lake City for a project that will do the exact opposite. You could have canceled your trip and negotiated in person during this critical time for the city, but you chose not to.
Mayor Biskupski, your presence at the Days of ’47 Parade shows tacit approval of the discrimination by the parade organizers against LGBTQ groups. You were invited to this parade; you chose to attend. Did you even ask the parade organizers to reconsider their decision? Salt Lake City is listed as a sponsor of the parade.
The mayor of Provo was able to successfully stand up to discriminating parade organizers, and LQBTQ groups were included in the Freedom Festival Parade. Her success only highlights your failure to do the same.
I recognize the potential for hypocrisy in simultaneously criticizing the mayor for walking away from one thing and attending another. However, both the City Council and the mayor of Provo were able to achieve something with their actions; what did Biskupski achieve?
This voter will remember Biskupski’s choices on these important issues during the election in 2019.
Parker Reed lives in the Liberty Wells neighborhood of Salt Lake City.