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Park City councilor: ‘Black history is American history’

Elected official invokes Martin Luther King Jr. in comments

Artists created a giant Black Lives Matter mural on Main Street in the summer of 2020, one of the notable social justice efforts in Park City that year. A member of the Park City Council at a recent meeting noted that February marks Black History Month and quoted the slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Park Record file photo

A member of the Park City Council at a recent meeting noted that February marks Black History Month in the U.S., offering brief comments about the annual observation.

City Councilor Max Doilney did not address Black History Month in any detail, but the mention was noteworthy as the elected officials and City Hall staffers continue to pursue the broad ideal of social equity.

“We have just started Black History Month. And I just want to remind everybody that Black history is American history,” Doilney said.



The first-term city councilor, who grew up in Park City, did not dwell on the topic and did not provide details about the links between the history of Black people and the history of the U.S.

Doilney, though, commented about the information that was provided while he was a student.



“Educate yourself about what our collective history is, because I know when I was in school I think that the actual history that I learned was woefully insufficient,” Doilney said.

He also quoted the slain civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., saying the phrase “the time is always right to do what is right” by King continues to resonate.

The other elected officials did not address the topic in any depth.

Black History Month in the Park City area is only marked in scattered ways and there is not a known public commemoration of the month. The U.S. Census Bureau in the middle of 2019 estimated 2.3% of the population of Park City was Black, a figure that trailed other minority groups like Latinos and Asians.

The comments by Doilney fit with City Hall’s social equity efforts, which are designed to ensure the community broadly welcomes a diverse population that includes people of differing races, ages, abilities, genders and sexual orientations.

Black History Month in 2021 follows the unrest in the nation in 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Park City area joined many other communities in the U.S. last year calling for social justice.

In Park City, notably, giant murals with social justice themes were put on the Main Street asphalt in 2020. One of the murals, with a “Black Lives Matter” message, especially drew attention and was among the works targeted in a high-profile case of vandalism in the summer that remains unsolved. There were also several demonstrations of varying scope in support of social justice in Park City last year, including a large one that was held at the Park City High School football field shortly after Floyd’s death.

The elected officials in late 2020, meanwhile, formally supported the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The leaders in supporting the compact acknowledged a key section saying “racism exists, and our actions make a difference. We call out racism wherever we see it and take purposeful steps to stop it.”

Doilney at the time the elected officials addressed the compact said the support “is being the change we want to see in the world.”


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