Lex Scott Steps Down As President Of Black Lives Matter Utah Chapter
Lex Scott, founder of the Black Lives Matter Utah chapter, has stepped down and appointed a new president for the group.
Scott announced Sunday, she was moving on from her post as president of the group and the Utah Black History Museum because of safety concerns. Mario Mathis will take over as president of the museum and Rae Duckworth will be the new leader of the chapter.
Over the last month Scott said she had been receiving a “flood of death threats.”
“I also was not prepared to have someone hurt my family,” Scott wrote in her Facebook post. “They are amazing. They do not deserve this life. This life of staying in hotels all the time when a death threat comes in. The massive security procedures that became a part of daily life.”
Scott first started to hold Black Lives Matter meetings in 2014 after the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
During her time in Utah she worked on police reform bills, set up a summer camp for Black Lives Matter kids, assisted in voting efforts, set up protests and helped create the first mobile Black history museum in the state.
Last month Scott faced widespread criticism for a social media post saying anyone who flies the American flag is “racist.” Elected officials like Gov. Spencer Cox and the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP came forward and denounced her statements.
Still, Duckworth said BLM Utah helped her find community as an adult and hopes it can help others.
She became vocal about police reform after her cousin, Bobby Duckworth, a Utah resident who was experiencing a mental health episode, was shot and killed by police in 2019.
Rae Duckworth said not much will change within the group. She plans to keep working on the initiatives Scott started.
“We're going to continue to change the world,” she said. “Basically, we are still going to continue our tag meetings, ballot initiatives and help register inmates and have as many conversations and dialogues as needed. [We’re going to] always [be] there for police brutality victims and their families because that's what the priority is of the chapter.”
She said they’ll continue to work with community and local organizations to demand reform and transparency from police agencies in the state.
As she looks towards the future, Rae Duckworth said she wants to focus on empowering women of color and Black women in Utah, especially victims of domestic abuse.
“The whole idea of protecting Black women, it's a very powerful thing that I can resonate with,” she said.
Betty Sawyer, leader of the Utah NAACP in Ogden, said she’ll miss Scott’s presence on the scene but understands why she left.
“A bigger part of it is self care,” Sawyer said, “recognizing that this work is filled with lots of trauma, anxiety, challenges and opportunities of course but it's not easy work.”
Sawyer said Scott pushed the envelope when it came to conversations around race and policing in the state. She now looks forward to working with Duckworth on these issues.
“I believe this is another opportunity for us to come together, look at those common agenda items and at the gaps that need to be filled,” she said.
As for Scott, who’s moved to another state, she’ll remain a part of the board but from afar.
“Keep standing up for Black children, keep protesting,” she said.