Salt Lake City, Utah — A book called “Black Utah: Stories From a Thriving Community” is released by The Utah Black Chamber.
“Let’s just have them share their experience, them being all the people we interviewed, and just keep it raw,” said James Jackson, III, the founder of the Utah Black Chamber. “Raw and simple.”
In order to share different perspectives from members of Utah’s Black community, Jackson wanted to present a diverse range of voices in the book.
The book includes stories from entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, activists, and others. “I enjoy being called upon to volunteer to make a change and make a difference,” said business owner Byron Russell.
According to Artist Liz Lamson, who also serves as the director of the Utah Black History Museum, art is a valuable medium to spotlight the community. She helped create the Black Lives Matter mural outside of city hall in Salt Lake City. “I feel here in Utah people do value my voice and have invited me to be a part of this community in a meaningful way,” she said. “Putting artwork out there in Utah that depicts Black people, I feel helps people recognize there is a Black community here. It’s present and we are people worth including.”
Lamson and others who share their stories in the book acknowledge there is work that must be done to create a more equitable environment in Utah. “We talk about the number of Black people who own houses. Let’s also look at the number of Black children who are taking music lessons,” she said. “We live in a state where there is an amazing opportunity,” Russell added. “Instead of pointing fingers, it’s a means of thinking, what do we have to do to remove barriers and hurdles?”