Support the Orem Library Pride Month Display
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Saddening news recently broke of a City Council member confronting the Orem Public Library for its Pride display during the month of June.
Our hearts go out to individuals and families who were hurt by these comments, and we wish to extend our love and support to you. You belong here in our community, and we will work to make things better. We also wish to express support for our library staff for helping to foster an environment of inclusion and understanding.
We ask for your signature to add your voice to the following statement, which we expect to present during an upcoming City Council meeting:
We stand united with the Orem Public Library’s efforts to uplift our community with light and understanding. In keeping with the theme of Orem’s 2021 Summerfest, “This Is Where You Belong,” we are proud our library staff put those words into action.
Library displays frequently highlight media relevant to the current season, such as holidays, pop culture trends, scientific topics, and social issues, to name a few. While the displays contain only a small sample of the library’s resources on a given topic, patrons are often inspired to study new ideas and perspectives. No other institution in our community serves this purpose for all residents the way our library does.
Following Governor Cox’s proclamation of June as Pride Month in Utah, the library’s display on Pride offered patrons an opportunity to learn about LGBTQ topics and perspectives. While no display ever forces an individual or family to delve into the materials, this display provided a valuable resource to those interested in learning about these topics, including parents seeking age-appropriate materials to support them through uncertain conversations with their children.
Depression and suicide rates in Utah are among the highest in the nation, particularly among our youth. We need to be better at cultivating a climate of inclusion, at extending a hand of friendship—especially to those who feel isolated or marginalized. LGBTQ residents are among the most vulnerable, and we need to do more than simply tolerate our differences. To develop empathy, we must first seek to understand.
Every July Utah celebrates the pioneers who fled here to escape various forms of persecution and bigotry. With that heritage, one might expect our culture to be particularly sensitive to the persistent challenges faced by marginalized populations. For a sense of belonging, we each need to feel loved and respected. We need to feel like our unique identity is valued, even when our perspectives and opinions differ.
As we consider how to respond to those who perpetuate bigotry and exclusion in our community, let us ask ourselves, “Am I also casting stones of hatred and intolerance? Am I watching in silence from the sidelines? Or am I stepping forward to support and comfort those in need?”
Our hope, plea, and expectation is that our community—especially those to whom we look for leadership—will choose the latter. That Orem will truly be a place where all feel welcome, that they belong. That members of this Council will use your platform to express love and understanding, rather than disgust and outrage. That each of us will use this moment to reflect on how we can better learn from and appreciate those with life experiences and perspectives different than our own.
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