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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

Black Utahns Focused On Education, Health And Criminal Justice Policies Ahead Of Debate

A screenshot of a zoom meeting.
Emily Means
Community policing, financial education and redlining all came up during a conversation about political issues that matter to Black communities in Utah.

During a panel on Black politics Tuesday night, elected officials and community members discussed some of their top issues ahead of Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris.

Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, is Utah’s only Black legislator and plans to attend the event as Harris’ guest. She said she wants to hear the candidates talk about poverty, student loans and the coronavirus pandemic.

“What do they plan on doing?” Hollins said. “We know that this has greatly impacted our community health-wise and economic-wise, so I want to see a plan moving forward.”

South Salt Lake City Councilmember Natalie Pinkney said she hopes Pence and Harris will address what will happen on Nov. 4, the day after the election.

“Fifty percent of Americans are going to be upset,” Pinkney said. “How do we move forward? I have folks who are afraid of a civil war breaking out. How do we calm people’s nerves and prevent things like that?”

For Kwamane Harris, who has experience working with youth in a nonprofit setting, the movement for racial justice is top of mind.

“Everyone screams Black Lives Matter. Everyone screams we need to be doing more,” Harris said. “One thing I would like to see at the debate is how are we going to move forward and put real actions to the words that everyone has put on their front lawns and buildings.”

Beyond the debate, the group discussed policies to address the wealth gap between Black and white communities, voter suppression and access to health care.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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