St. George City Council passes resolution to ‘support Dixie’

ST. GEORGE — The St. George City Council unanimously vote Thursday in favor of a resolution to continue to support the use of the term “Dixie.”

After the vote, council member Dannielle Larkin said that she is aware that the term means different things to different people.

“I’m in support of the regional meaning,” Larkin said during the meeting. “But it’s important to remember that there are no villains in this discussion.”

Larkin added that she believes it’s part of her pioneer heritage to be able to engage with self-awareness, and the importance of avoiding short-sighted solutions.

Mayor Michele Randall agreed with Larkin, then pointed to an example of what she thought was a viable approach to parsing out differences.

Councilwoman Dannielle Larkin at the St. George City Council meeting in St. George, Utah, April 1, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

“I was at the last Dixie State Name Change Committee meeting,” she said. “It was very civil. But I’m deeply saddened by conflict within the community.”

While some believe that the term Dixie represents the racism and oppression associated with slavery in the American South, going so far as to change their name to omit any unintended connotations, the resolution aimed to clarify what the word means in Southern Utah.

Citing St. George’s pioneer heritage, which included members of communities in the American South who were among the 309 families called by their church to establish a cotton mission in Southern Utah, the resolution says that the name has been “passed down from generation to generation.”

File photo of Mayor Michele Randall at City Hall Jan. 21, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

What does the resolution mean for the citizens of St. George?

The resolution concludes with some specifics, then points to something broader stating that “the Mayor and City Council will continue to support Dixie by leaving the Dixie on the Sugarloaf, keeping the name Dixie Drive, keeping the name of the Dixie Academy Building, keeping the Dixie Sun Bowl and we will continue to support all businesses, all schools, sports, and institutions with Dixie in their name.”

Randall said that she is not in favor of Dixie State changing its name, but she is looking forward to the time when the community is no longer fractured by this issue.

“So that we can all heal,” she said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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