I’ve been privileged this first year in office to witness first-hand, every day, the strength and optimism of Salt Lake City through our incredibly diverse and vibrant communities. If I know one true thing, it’s that we thrive when our city provides opportunity for everyone, and embraces the unique differences we celebrate in our families, our neighborhoods, our places of worship, and through our arts, culture, and cuisines.
My first official mayoral proclamation came in March, during Women’s History Month. I was honored to recognize the work of Dr. Kristen Ries and Maggie Snyder, two Salt Lake City medical pioneers and humanitarians who ministered to hundreds of people with HIV/AIDS during the height of the virus’ epidemic.
In April, I banned city employee travel to North Carolina after that state’s Legislature passed a bill to ban bathrooms for transgendered individuals. I also joined in signing a letter with many other U.S. mayor to North Carolina leaders in formal protest of the law, which opponents failed to overturn in the North Carolina Legislature in late December 2016. They have vowed to try again in 2017.
We celebrated Pride this past summer, of course, and one of my real thrills as the city’s first lesbian mayor was joining with Salt Lake City Council Member Stan Penfold in renaming 900 South in Salt Lake City for the late LGBTQ rights activist Harvey Milk.
Finally, in the wake of a controversial and often troubling election season, I took the opportunity of reassuring our city residents who have voiced fear and anxiety over anti-immigration and refugee fervor. Everyone is welcome in Salt Lake City, and we will take every measure to protect their human and civil rights.
I came to work each day this year focused on building a city for everyone. This work will carry on throughout 2017. I’m so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had this year to stand with our people who represent our many and varied communities.