Friday, March 09, 2007

Joanne Milner

Joanne Milner

On March 7th at 7 p.m the Center for the Study of Ethics welcomed Joanne Milner as its Monthly Ethics Forum speaker. Ms Milner is the Community Relations Program Manager at Salt Lake City School's Horizonte Instruction and Training Center and she hosts and produces a show on KRCL called "Cultural Connections". Biographical information about her is listed below this post.

Ms. Milner delivered a moving presentation on the plight of Hispanics / Latinos in Utah. She described the sorry state of biases in our state against that community. She described the moving account of a latino neighbor of hers forcefully deported from her children (two of whom are serving in Iraq in the military) after living here for nearly 20 years. She told about how Utah ignored the mostly catholic Mexicans living in the state in terms of census records who far outnumber the 10,000 LDS missionaries the are the subject of a law suit attempting to increase congressional representation (among other things, the state had looked to LDS membership to determine numbers, but ignored membership numbers of Catholics). She talked about the insipid attempts at claiming "diversity" prior to the Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake, where suddenly various ethnic groups were invited to participate in Utah's Days of 47 parade. Each year prior to that these groups had been denied.

She held her audience in rapt attention, with a long question and answer session afterwards. What a pleasure to hear from such an informed, kind, and dedicated person!

Horizonte is a non‑traditional high school in Salt Lake City serving nearly 10,000 students a year, including youth, young parents, adults, political refugees, immigrants, and new Americans learning English as a second language. Students come from 88 countries, speak more than 82 languages, and range in age from 14 to 85. She is responsible for establishing community partnerships, fundraising, coordinating and scheduling school and community use of the multi‑cultural learning facility.

Milner is a former member of the Salt Lake City Council. She served a four‑year term representing the culturally diverse West‑side area of Salt Lake City from 1996‑2000. She also served three‑terms in the Utah State House of Representatives (Democrat) from 1987‑1992. A descendent of Italian immigrants, she is an outspoken advocate for under‑represented ethnic
minority populations, and initiated the first Multi‑Ethnic Advisory Committee for Salt Lake City, a catalyst for promoting a city ordinance establishing a Multi‑Cultural Advisory Board to ensure representation for minorities on city boards and commissions.

She is also the executive producer of the documentary production, Our Story: Italian‑Americans in Utah. She is a former host of KSL NEWSRADIO program, Perspective: The Changing Face of Utah, focusing on ethnic minority issues, especially the Hispanic community.

She is an appointed member of the Utah Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is a board member for the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference for Christians and Jews), The Utah Humanities Council, Alliance House for the Mentally Ill, the Junior League Community Advisory Board, and is a former board member for the Center for Documentary Arts (promoting Utah¹s diverse
cultures through photography, film, oral and written histories).

Milner received the 2005 Rosa Parks Award, presented by the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP, and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the first Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission for the State of Utah.

Her leadership and community service has been extended to numerous boards and committees including; Multi‑Ethnic Housing Development, Salt Lake City Public Library Board, Governor¹s Commission for Women and Families, State Domestic Violence Intervention Task Force, Governor¹s Commission on Child Care, Governor¹s Task Force on Health Care Cost Containment, Traveler¹s Aid Task Force on Women and Poverty, Centro de la Familia, Indian Walk‑In Center, Neighborhood House Child and Adult Day Care, Salt Lake County Environmental Quality Advisory Committee, Salt Lake Rape Recovery Center, and Esperanza Para MaƱana.

Milner holds a Master of Public Administration degree, and Bachelors in Communications/Public Relations from the University of Utah. She is co‑author of the Utah State Fare Cookbook, which promotes the state's cultural diversity through cooking and traditional family recipes.

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