Freedom is a fundamental value that lies at the heart of our nation. We celebrate this value every July with Independence Day, and it continues to serve as a reminder of the importance of freedom and its enduring relevance.

This day symbolizes the promise of a new beginning, where individuals can exercise their rights, pursue their dreams, and contribute to the prosperity of their communities. By embracing the values of freedom and extending a welcoming hand to new immigrants, Utah can foster an inclusive and vibrant society that thrives on diversity and the shared pursuit of a better future for all.

For new immigrants coming to Utah, this month holds extra special meaning as they embark on their journey to embrace the freedoms and opportunities offered by their new home. Many new immigrants arriving in Utah often come from countries where they have experienced limitations on their freedoms and have faced various challenges. While the early pioneers came to a desolate valley, new pioneers can join an already thriving community.

Utah’s pioneer heritage is closely intertwined with the concept of immigration. Pioneer Day not only celebrates the bravery and resilience of the pioneers but also highlights the deep connection between immigration and the growth of the state. Just as the pioneers sought a better life and new opportunities, immigrants today continue to contribute to the growth and diversity of Utah. They bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences that enrich the state’s social fabric and economy. Recognizing the importance of immigrants and embracing their contributions can pave the way for a brighter future.

Moreover, fostering entrepreneurship among immigrants can lead to innovation and economic growth. Many immigrants arrive with valuable skills and entrepreneurial spirit, which, when nurtured and supported, can result in the creation of new businesses and job opportunities for both immigrants and prior residents. By providing resources, mentorship programs, and access to capital, Utah can harness the potential of immigrant entrepreneurs and stimulate economic development.

Both celebratory days provide a platform for cultural exchange, fostering a sense of belonging and unity among diverse communities. Additionally, both days offer an opportunity for Utahns to extend a warm embrace to new immigrants and help them navigate their way through a new phase of life under liberty. By engaging in community events and cultural activities, immigrants and residents can build connections, break down barriers, and cultivate a shared understanding of the importance of freedom and the opportunities it brings.

For our future to be as bright as it was when the pioneers entered this valley, we should welcome the new pioneers coming in good faith and share the values they taught!

Derek Miller is the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.