After a lengthy and sometimes emotional discourse from four black men on the frustrations of racism, the City Council again balked at a request to create a minority advisory council.
Nathaniel Johnson, a member of the Davis County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has campaigned for a year to have the advisory council established as a liaison between the city and minority groups.On Thursday, Johnson proposed that a panel of five private citizens, a police representative, legal counsel, an elected official and a city administrator function in that role.
Mayor L. Clifford Goff said the City Council fills what would be the advisory council's role.
"I think you have a recourse, a committee to go to with complaints, and we are it," Goff said. "I don't think we need anything else."
But Johnson, Wayne Thompson, Lamont Green and Jim Hill disagreed.
"I look at the council and I see no representation of me as a black man," Thompson said.
"It's hard for me to believe any of you can see Ogden through my eyes," he said. "How can I expect anyone who's never had to deal with racism to know what it's like?
"I can walk into places in Ogden and be followed around . . . and have people walk up to me and tell me I can't shop here because I don't have enough money," Thompson said.
Thompson, who is married with two children, said he is unemployed because of the "racism of this society."
Last fall, he filed a $1 million federal discrimination lawsuit in Salt Lake City against Ogden radio station KDAB after the station fired him from an announcer position. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 4.
Johnson said no Ogden lawyer would take the case, so he took Thompson to University of Utah law professor Ed Firmage, a civil rights advocate, who helped him locate a Salt Lake attorney.
"The first thing they see is race," Thompson said. "Justice is not an issue."