The First Lady Pays a Visit to Utah


Cate Love, Writer

On Cinco de Mayo, Dr. Jill Biden paid her first visit to Utah as First Lady. Her stop in Utah was part of her 2 day Western tour, in which she also stopped in Nevada and Colorado. Her visit came during Teacher Appreciation Week where Biden, an educator herself, showed appreciation to teachers and thanked them for their work during the difficult past year of learning. tbcredit.ruWhen Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Utah, she was greeted immediately by the Utah Governor and First Lady, Spencer and Abby Cox, along with Mayor Mendenhall. 


On her trip to Utah, Jill Biden visited Glendale Middle School, one of the most diverse schools in the state. 89% of the students enrolled there are people of color. 


Our own East High community was impacted by Biden’s stop here. Glendale feeds into East High School, and many future East students were given the opportunity to meet her. The neighborhood near the middle school and many East High families came out to show support for the first lady. 


 First Lady Biden arrived at Glendale Middle School to tour the school. When she arrived, she was welcomed by the school’s ukulele club who played her “House of Gold ” by Twenty-One Pilots. 


Eighth grade students at the school made portraits of themselves to cover the walls in. They were accompanied with positive affirmations and goals. In a classroom, the first lady wrote her own statements on the white board saying, “I am Jill, I am a mother, a nana, a teacher…who believes all students can soar!” Biden met with a group of students and discussed their posters and statements with them, reaffirming to them they can accomplish anything they want. 


Later, the first lady spoke to a crowd of teachers. She recognized the losses they have faced this year and the difficulty of learning and teaching during a pandemic. She spoke on the need to prioritize our educators. She specifically mentioned raising salaries and increasing the teachers of color, which personally touched many in the crowd. 


First Lady Abby Cox escorted Dr. Biden to the middle school and shared her experience with The Leopard. “Dr. Biden was warm and engaging and voiced support for our SHOW UP initiative. Our Utah students have much to teach the world about how we foster empathy and understand as we connect through our differences.”


After visiting the middle school, Biden visited a Jordan Park vaccination clinic. The pop-up clinic was aimed specifically at getting more people, particularly those who are part of the Hispanic community, vaccinated. Around 250 people signed up to get vaccinated at the clinic, where they shared their stories with the First Lady. Some shared immigration stories and asked Biden for immigration reform. 


Representative Angela Romero helped organize the vaccine clinic. “Dr. Biden’s visit definitely impacted the number of people that signed up to get vaccinated. The reason she selected Utah was because she wanted to help bring awareness and help increase vaccination numbers in Latinx community,” Romero told The Leopard


The places Jill Biden chose to visit did not go unnoticed. The diverse, west-side community felt seen and heard by the first lady’s effort to recognize them. 


Romero added that “the First Lady’s visit centered around essential workers and teachers, not other elected officials or donors. She really wanted to connect to the people and went to them instead of asking them to come to her.”