June 12th, 2020
It's been three weeks since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd's killing has sparked unrest across America, including in parts of Wyoming that aren't used to seeing protests. From Laramie and Casper to Gillette, Riverton, and even small towns like Dubois and Pinedale, people in our state are speaking out against racism and police violence against Black people. At many of these vigils, marches and demonstrations, Black Wyomingites are leading the way.
Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen reported from several nights of the protests in Laramie, and brings us the voices of some of the young, Black Wyomingites leading the marches.
Black Lives Matter protests have picked up steam across Wyoming as citizens speak out against pervasive police violence and systemic racism against Black people. A near constant presence at the events, though, have been small bands of gun-wielding counter-protesters. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim reports. A warning, this story contains racist language.
As the protests erupt, some law enforcement officials have come out speaking against the way George Floyd was killed. Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker released a joint statement with the Powell Police and Park County Sheriff departments describing themselves appalled by the use of force. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska sat down with the Cody police chief to hear what he learned from being present at the rally.
Wyoming's senators spent the week fighting a bill that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with funding a portion of the maintenance backlog at national parks across the nation. Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.
Following more than a month of shuttered businesses and strict social distancing measures, the state began to reopen in May. That shift has been accompanied by a marked increase in COVID-19-related deaths. Wyoming Public Radio's Jeff Victor reports public health experts are saying the two are likely related.
Governor Mark Gordon and leaders from some of the top rodeos in the state this month announced that the major events would be canceled this year. That's due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health safety measures that would have to be put in place for those events. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Billy Craft and Zane Garstad, who head the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. First, Craft explains why they came to the decision to put the 90th anniversary celebration on hold this year.
In early 2020, very few people had ever heard of Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since that time, the State Health officer has become a well-known and important figure as she tries to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrist has lately been opening things up. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that she's optimistic as the state deals with tourists and other challenges.