Mormons Building Bridges denied by Days of ’47 and Freedom Festival parades

For the second year in a row, Mormons Building Bridges’ proposals to participate in Salt Lake City’s Days of ‘47 Parade and America’s Freedom Festival Parade at Provo have been rejected by the events’ respective organizing committees.

MBB’s entry in the Day’s of ‘47 —  Utah’s largest parade that commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley — would have been titled “Utah’s LGBT Pioneers” and feature six LGBT community leaders in the areas of public service, business, education, and the arts, riding in an antique convertible. Within twenty-four hours of submitting the proposal, MBB was notified by voice-mail that their proposal was rejected, with no explanation.

For America’s Freedom Festival Grand Parade – part of Provo’s Fourth of July celebration — Mormons Building Bridges proposed a marching group featuring  LGBT veterans.  This was also rejected with no explanation.

Both of these events are beloved celebrations that Utahns look forward to every year.  Both events are organized by private non-profits with the right to turn down any group for any reason, but the Mormons Building Bridges steering committee is disappointed and  confused as to why their proposals – which are supportive of the mission of both organizations —  have been rejected. This year the Days of ‘47 theme is “Pioneers — Forging a New Frontier”. MBB seeks to to embody that theme  by  highlighting the work of community leaders who are forging new frontiers and also happen to be LGBT. Likewise, what better way to support the Freedom Festival’s stated goal of promoting patriotism, than by honoring the service of LGBT veterans who have kept this country free?

The MBB steering committee encourages bridge builders everywhere to express their concern respectfully to the organizing committees, their corporate sponsors, and hosting city governments.  This is an opportunity to discuss the purpose of Utah parades and how we can include all Utahns in these events. In the same way the LDS church and LGBT groups leadership worked together on Utah’s  historic nondiscrimination legislation, we hope these holiday celebrations can embody, in the words of LDS apostle Elder D. Todd Christofferson “fairness to all.”

— If you would like to share your feelings directly with the Days of ‘47 Organizing Committee, please contact the parade co-chairs:
Jim Williams at 801-694-9828, jwilliams@daysof47.com,
Jodene Smith at 801-254-4656, jsmith@daysof47.com,
Kathi at 801-257-7959, kathihizatt@gmail.com

— If you would like to share your feelings directly with the America’s Freedom Festival Parade Organizers, please contact:
Alan DeWitt – ffparade.chair@gmail.com,
Terry Kennard – tdk98@comcast.net,
Tara Catmull – ffgrandparade@gmail.com
or at 801-818-1776

— To share your feelings about MBB’s participation in the Days of 47 Parade, please contact their major corporate sponsor Zions Bank:
Rob Brough, Executive Vice President Marketing & Communications,
801-844-7979, Robert.Brough@zionsbank.com

— To share your feelings about MBB’s participation in America’s Freedom Festival, please contact their major corporate sponsor Nu Skin:
Sydnee Fox, Sr. Manager, Corporate Public Relations,
(801) 345-2187, email: sfox@nuskin.com

— If you would like to express your concerns with the respective hosting cities:
Days of ‘47 – Mayor Ralph Becker: 801-535-7704, mayor@slcgov.com, Twitter @SLCMayorsOffice
America’s Freedom Festival – Mayor John Curtis: (801) 852-6108, john@provo.org, Twitter @Curtisut

Or you may want to contact your representative on the Salt Lake City or Provo city councils.

The Mormons Building Bridges community is made up of faithful Latter-day Saints who are dedicated to conveying love and acceptance to all who identify as LGBTQI and those who experience same-sex attraction. The MBB Facebook group has more than 6000 participants.  Learn more at mormonsbuildingbridges.org or contact info@mormonsbuildingbridges.org