Performers from Ballet Folklorico ECK will dance at last year’s Living Colors Gala on September 16, 2021. (Utah business)
Estimated duration: 3-4 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — More than 20 Utahans were recognized for their efforts to make Utah a more diverse and inclusive place to live, work and play.
Sponsored by Living Color Utah and Utah Business magazine, this year’s Living Color Awards honored people from community engagement, business, education, government, inspirational leaders, nonprofits and more. Winners range from cultural organizations, community he workers, local and state lawmakers, activists, and the only black CEO of Utah’s tech his unicorn. A complete list of winners is available at Utah Business.
Living Color Utah founder James Jackson said the award is meant to shine a light on those working to make Utah more inclusive. He hopes the Living Color Gala honoring the winners will foster further conversations and partnerships on diversity and inclusion statewide.
“Utah is struggling to attract and retain talent, especially diverse talent,” said Jackson, who is also the founder of the Utah Black Chamber. “I’ve seen it, but I see a lot of new faces. It’s just a revolving door. Utah has a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a more welcoming and inclusive state.”
The Living Color Awards also include the Cameron Williams Award. The award honors one individual in the legacy of Cameron Williams, a civic leader who served as chairman of the Utah County Black Chamber of Commerce. Williams died of brain cancer in June last year. he was 33 years old.
Jackson said of Williams, “Throughout the short eight years he’s spent here in Utah, he definitely left his mark in making Utah a better place to be.” , Cameron has been there[he’s]been on a lot of boards and committees, been very vocal about how Utah could be better, and he’s done the job. No, I did my job.”
This year’s Cameron Williams Award winner is Betty Sawyer, Executive Director of the Project Success Coalition. The nonprofit started as a response to drug arrests and use in downtown Ogden. Project Success began in 1989 as one of Ogden’s first after-school programs. Today, we offer community learning centers, tobacco prevention programs, health access and awareness initiatives, Juneteenth festivals, career development, and more.
Utah has a lot of work to do before it becomes a more welcoming and inclusive state.
– James Jackson, Founder of Living Color Utah
When asked what kind of diversity and inclusion initiatives he would like to see in Utah, Sawyer told Utah businesses that the initiatives were not actionable and conversational, but measurable cultural change. Said he wanted
“This level of work requires real financial investment, accountability and transparency. These investments allow them/we to come together year after year to celebrate real, measurable and sustainable change. I can,” said Sawyer.
Winners will be recognized at the 4th Annual Living Color Gala on Friday from 5:00pm to 8:30pm. A silent auction will be held Thursday through Saturday. Proceeds are a collation of diverse business organizations such as the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce, the Utah LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, the Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce, the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce, the Muslim Citizens League of Utah, and Suazo Business Center. Donated to Color Utah. and young professionals in Salt Lake City.