The Utah Young Republicans and Young Democrats, along with other interested people, are holding a symposium next month to warn high school student leaders about the dangers of racism.
The group, calling itself Citizens Against Racism, will hold the daylong symposium Jan. 13 in the Salt Lake County Complex. About 150 high school leaders from throughout the state will attend, said Pat Shea, one of the group's leaders.Shea, former Democratic Party chairman, said he and others became concerned a year ago when it was reported that factions of neo-Nazis planned to open a church in Utah. That concern was renewed when an avowed racist hosted a radio talk show for a short time and later tried to open a book store in Salt Lake County.
"Political parties seem too interested in getting people elected, and not enough about the broad issues that affect society," Shea said. He approached the Young Democrats and Young Republicans and they enthusiastically agreed to form the group and sponsor the symposium.
Three sessions will be held Jan. 13. State Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen will conduct a session on law enforcement and racist groups. Religious leaders will talk about how the groups twist religious doctrine to make it sustain their ideals. And University of New York psychologist Bruce Hare will talk about racism and how it affects individuals and society.
Shea and Young Democrat Sarah Behrens and Young Republican Stuart W. Hinckley say more educational seminars on racism will be held in the future.