Black Lives Matter

Erin Jones


When you think of pioneers, you might imagine Little House on the Prairie. Or the Oregon Trail game we all played in the nineties. One thing these popular depictions of pioneers have in common is they're White. But pioneers weren't all White, and historians argue it's important to set the record straight.

Dr. Fredrick Douglass Dixon

A new Black Studies Center has opened this fall at the University of Wyoming. The center aims on advancing the accurate histories of Black people and history in the state.

Damen Bell-Holter

 

Former NBA player Damen Bell-Holter is concerned about the lack of mental health resources for men of color. Identifying as a Black man and a member of the Haida Nation, Bell-Holter has seen first hand how men of color often don't seek help for mental illnesses.

Savannah Maher


This summer, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers sparked a wave of protests across the country. The first Wyoming community to join that national movement wasn't Laramie or Cheyenne, or even Jackson Hole. It was Riverton.

The president’s controversial nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management is facing renewed pushback from Western lawmakers.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

As Black Lives Matter rallies continue across the country, some counter protesters and militia members are giving new life to an old racist myth – that white Irish people were enslaved in the Americas just like Africans and Indigenous people.

 


Protests are unfolding across the country over the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of police in Aurora, Colo. Now, frustration is also building over local law enforcement’s use of force this past weekend at a vigil in Aurora honoring him — frustration that was visible at a city council meeting Tuesday night dedicated to the response. 

Protests against racism and police brutality continue in Colorado, but there are many faces and voices that are missing. Here, four Colorado women who are Black activists and scholars share their thoughts on what this moment means to them. They’ve opted out of protests, due to health complications or because they’re participating in other ways. Scroll down for their full bios. 

Conor Mullen


Protesting racism and police brutality is nothing new. But large, sustained turnouts, especially in small, mostly white towns, is something we've not seen before. For many of these protesters, it's their first time demonstrating - ever.

Catherine Wheeler

Buffalo, Wyoming is a small Western town with fewer than 5,000 residents. The historic Occidental Hotel still stands on Main Street. Murals of horses paint the sides of old brick buildings. Buffalo's most widely attended event is a four-day long festival that celebrates a fictional sheriff in town based on Buffalo and Johnson County.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

There's growing concern about violence at anti-racism protests after an armed man shot a protester at a demonstration on Monday in Albuquerque, with a number of activists across the Mountain West saying they have been harassed.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

With protesters taking to the streets nationwide to demand justice for George Floyd and confront police brutality and systemic racism, Mountain West News Bureau reporters are gathering perspectives of people of color from around the region.

Savannah Maher

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.

 

Cooper McKim

It's a hot, sunny day as Black Lives Matter protesters stand at a busy intersection in Laramie. It's during one of the daily protests in town that began in early June.

At a hearing last weekend about a Colorado bill on vaccination, Dr. Reginald Washington had originally planned to make several urgent points in support of the bill. 

First, that diseases like measles are resurging, and they’re serious. (He’d know. He’s treated patients with complications from measles and pertussis.) Second, due to COVID-19, children are missing well-child visits and skipping vaccinations, putting them at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team – they're wearing flak jackets and carrying assault weapons. But they aren't military and they aren't police. 

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

 


Maggie Mullen

On a windy Wednesday evening, local protesters filled the sidewalks of downtown Laramie wearing masks and holding signs with messages like, "Black Lives Matter" and "Silence = Violence."

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

A memorial was held Thursday for George Floyd, who died last week after a police officer pressed a knee into his neck while detaining him in Minneapolis, triggering protests across the country.

In front of a golden casket and flower bouquets, and against a backdrop of artwork depicting Floyd saying, "I can breathe now," his brother Philonise shared memories of growing up together, eating banana mayonnaise sandwiches and sleeping in the same bed as kids.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the decision to order that protesters be driven back from a park near the White House this week and said extremist groups were involved in sometimes violent demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

The inaugural #BlackBirdersWeek kicked off on Sunday. The virtual event came about in response to the racist incident in Central Park last week when a white woman called the police after a Black birder asked her to put her dog on a leash.

Savannah Maher


More than 100 people gathered at Riverton City Park on Monday night to honor George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who died last week after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Demonstrators chanted "Black Lives Matter" and "Justice for Floyd" along Federal Boulevard before holding a candlelight vigil for Floyd. The event, which was organized by young people from the Wind River Reservation, remained peaceful.

Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher compiled this audio postcard from the vigil, featuring the voices of Black and Indigenous demonstrators.

NBC News / via Twitchy

The recent use of the acronym BLM in national conversation has left some Westerners confused. 

At this week’s Democratic National Convention, the Wyoming delegation wore t-shirts supporting Black Lives Matter, or in shorthand, BLM. Nina McConigley is a writer who lives Laramie. She posted about the show of support on her Facebook page, writing "Wyoming delegation - all wearing BLM shirts! As a POC [Person of Color] in Wyo, this makes me so so happy." She says that elicited a lot of confused comments in response.