Updated: May 9, 2021
The Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement shows their support and mounts pressure in their demonstration last friday in front of the State Capitol to pass House Bill 78.
(Rally for Consent, 03/05/2021)
HB78 is a bill in the Utah Legislature that creates the offense of sexual conduct without affirmative consent by creating a third degree felony for, and amending the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry to include that kind of sexual conduct.
With Utah being a mecca for conservative politics due to the religious influence, on top of the right wing political ideology that has marked Utah for most of its history, it's no surprise that lawmakers want to continue to push the same conservative policies. That was shown in the events last year, where lawmakers kneecapped a different bill that would have taught consent in sexual education classes by a vote 7 to 4 in the House Education Committee.
The Education Committee’s vote on last year’s bill to teach consent continued the failure of sex ed classes not teaching consent, instead opting to teach abstinence-only. This differs the education system from doing their basic responsibility to educate members of society, especially in how to engage in a safe consenual practice which could divert the staggering trend which has led Utah in an increase in sexual violence. A study by KUTV which found that Utah was the 11th most dangerous state in the US for charges of rape and sexual assult. Passing HB78 and teaching consent in our schools will help to minimize this number and help women feel more comfortable in our state.
The Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement (S.L.E.R.M.) has been an organization that put their main attention on fighting for marginalized communities, specifically for Black lives. The President of the organization, Grace Dannielle, said the organization chose to fight for HB78 as an act of solidarity. “I don’t think you can fight for one minority and not fight for all of them. We want to educate as many people as we can, and that’s why we do stuff like this.”
S.L.E.R.M. is holding a mass protest in solidarity with millions across the country on the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death (March 13th) at 11:00am at Washington Square Park.
“Everyday, until justice is served, and Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove are convicted for murder, we won’t stop calling, marching, and organizing until every killer cop is held accountable,” S.L.E.R.M.’s Instagram page reads.
If you are unable to attend the protest there are other ways to help pressure the Attorney General in Kentucky into giving Breonna Taylor justice. Call (502) 735-1784 to connect with local authorities in Louisville and to stay informed. You can also call the AG and keep adding pressure any way possible.