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AMERICAN FORK — Frequent commuters on I-15 will likely notice a change to their morning drive as Utah tech company Domo replaces its six billboards with a message of love for the LGBTQ community.
Domo’s billboards — a mainstay on the busy freeway — are often known for their eyebrow-raising messages (“Kolob runs on Domo”), but will now feature a new campaign the company hopes is one of inclusion.
As of Wednesday, all six billboards will read “Domo ❤️ LGBTQ+ (and everyone else too!)” in Domo’s signature white lettering on a light blue background.
“Earlier this year, I watched a documentary about LGBTQ+ in our community, and it is undeniably thought-provoking,” said Domo CEO Josh James in a blog post. “A point the film made is LGBTQ+ youth don’t feel accepted, and that lack of acceptance is a major factor in the increased rate of teen suicide.”
The documentary, called "Believer," premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and documents local "Imagine Dragons" frontman Dan Reynolds' efforts to bring together the LGBTQ and religious communities in Utah.
After watching the documentary and speaking to parents of LGBTQ youth, James said it was increasingly clear these teens needed to feel loved as they are and supported by those around them. He hopes the billboards will do just that and spark a conversation around the issue of inclusion.
James, who founded both Domo and tech company Omniture, has worked for the last 20 years in Utah and says he feels lucky to call the Beehive State home.
“I believe we have an accepting and loving culture, and I’m proud when visitors tell me how they think Utahns are so kind and nice,” James said in the blog post. “Even though I believe our state is primarily made up of wonderful people who love anyone and everyone exactly the same, there is no denying that we have a fairly homogeneous state that by its very nature creates challenges that deserve a special focused effort in order to be countered."
James believes the more diverse Utah’s community becomes, the greater need it has of awareness, acceptance and inclusion. He also believes there’s a benefit for businesses that recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
Cathy Donahoe, Domo’s vice president of human resources, said the company has so far received nothing but positive responses to the billboard changes.
“I really do think it’s the kind, accepting culture that Utah already has,” she said. “Josh’s heart was touched by this documentary and it just felt like a good message to share with a lot of people.”
James said the billboards are not intended to endorse one population over another, but to give Domo an opportunity to use its position to promote a community where everyone feels they belong and are loved.
“Utah exists today because it was a refuge for people who were isolated and persecuted,” he said in the blog post. “I personally tie directly into that past and, … not surprisingly, I absolutely hate to see any person ever persecuted whether intentionally or unintentionally because of how they look, think, feel or act.”