Being a young, gay, and mixed-race individual wasn't always the easiest or most comfortable experience growing up in Utah; specifically Davis County. I was often bullied, excluded, and made to feel inferior to my classmates, coworkers, and fellow citizens.
Then I moved to Ogden in the fall of 2011 to attend Weber State University, where I met and fell in love with my husband, Sean. Suddenly I was surrounded by diverse people of all shapes, sizes, colors, orientations- you name it, and they not only accepted but they celebrated me.
You see, the diversity in our city is why we chose to invest and purchase our first home in the heart of East Central Ogden.
To me, Representation among our elected officials is so much more than speaking or acting on behalf of their constituents. Yes, that is a large part of it, but I also feel as if Representation in leadership has another part to it that is often left out or forgotten. Representation in our leadership must reflect the diverse and unique characteristics of the individuals they speak or act for.
For example, 48.1% of individuals in Ogden identify as female. Is that proportionately represented in our leadership? Another example, 33.1% of individuals in Ogden identify as Hispanic or Latino which is Ogden's largest minority group. Is that proportionately represented in our leadership?
Something beautiful happens when both our elected officials and our popular culture embraces true representation; from Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman to electing our first African American President- TWICE! Does it make the problems disappear overnight? No. Black Lives Matter began during President Obama's administration, and women are still underpaid (but they are saving the world!). That being said, it's a start, and it's a start worth celebrating.
With Representation comes visibility and with visibility comes change.
What are we doing about it?
Ogden City has made great strides in the last few years to create a more inclusive city for everyone. From the recent resolution on immigration to the creation of the Ogden Diversity Commission, of which I am a Commissioner for, efforts are being made and noticed by many.
The next step?
Elect leadership that reflects and REPRESENTS the beauty of all the diversity this city has to offer. Want to vote for some incredible women? Check out Deana Froerer, Kathi Darby, Lou Shurtliff, or Lori Brinkeroff-- all incredible women running in Weber County.
New Leadership. New Possibilities.
And trust me when I say "You Belong In Ogden."
Because you do. We all do.
P.S. I promise all my posts won't be about politics!