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UEA Racial Justice Statement

UEA Board of Directors statement on Racial Justice June 2020.
Group of young people holding signs at rally that read "Black Lives Matter."

The Utah Education Association stands with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, including teachers, school staff and students around the globe.

We have heard, and continue to listen to, our community members of color as they’ve recently expressed emotions from anger to frustration to exhaustion, not only concerning current events, but also in reference to the history of social injustice and systemic racism. We hear you. We also recognize the immense responsibility that we, as an organization, must do so much more. Because #BlackLivesMatter.

Regardless of our intentions and our past efforts, we acknowledge institutional racism is a reality and we must work to expose and eradicate it. We realize it is not enough to declare ourselves ‘not racist.’ We must all strive to become ‘anti-racist.’ When we see racism or implicit and explicit bias, we must call it out and shut it down in order to raise awareness and foster change.

We know we can and will do more. In 2016, the UEA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee was established to increase minority representation in the association, educate school districts in hiring a diverse workforce, and promote inclusive civil rights programs for students and educators. In 2019, the UEA Equity, Justice and Inclusion Taskforce was established to assess the needs of the Association related to white supremacy culture, including institutional racism, to create a safe and inclusive climate and to help empower educators to act against intolerance, bigotry and injustice. The UEA is committed to continuing this critical work as we establish strategic policies, implement programmatic opportunities and engage our leaders, staff and members in ensuring racial justice in education.

We support access and opportunity for all educators and students but recognize we cannot succeed if lives are threatened, marginalized or oppressed. As educators, we have a unique responsibility and can be a strong influence to fight against injustice. The public education system can bring people together with a teaching force reflective of our student population. With knowledgeable educators trained in recognizing and confronting unjust policies and practices, we can and will make a difference.

The UEA is committed to advancing social justice within our organization, our public schools and our communities. That commitment begins by re-envisioning our strategic goals, priorities and programs in order to live by our stated goal to “work to eradicate institutional discriminatory practices and support equitable outcomes for all.” Reversing generations of racial prejudice, hatred and fear will take perseverance, dedication and above all – education.

The UEA Board of Directors

  • Heidi Matthews, UEA President
  • Renee Pinkney, UEA Vice President
  • Michael Harman, NEA State Director
  • Mindy L. Layton, NEA State Director
  • Denise Lake, Ethnic Minority Representative
  • Brandon Engles, Alpine UniServ
  • Amy Barton, Color Country UniServ
  • Kallyn Gren, Davis UniServ
  • Kody Clyde, Eastern Utah UniServ
  • Michele Jones, Granite UniServ
  • Rodney Hurd, High Desert UniServ
  • Kathy Smith, Jordan UniServ
  • Jeanie Papiernik, Northern Utah UniServ
  • Marjean Wayment, Ogden-Weber UniServ
  • Lara Slade, Wasatch UniServ
  • Christy Giblon, Woodland Peaks UniServ

The UEA Board of Directors is comprised of full-time teachers elected by UEA members to manage the business of the Association. These directors include the UEA president, vice president, two NEA state directors for Utah, one director representing each of the 11 UniServ units, and one director representing ethnic minorities.


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

With more than 18,000 members across the state, UEA supports equal opportunities for success for ALL Utah students, and respect and support for all educators.