diversity

"We Kind Of Live In The Middle"

Jul 19, 2019
Charles Fournier


Though they have felt like outsiders at times, Allen Pino and Catalina Pedroza—who are both pursuing careers as educators—feel a strong sense of loyalty to Wyoming. For WPR's "Belonging" series, they sat down to discuss racial identity and how Wyoming stereotypes can be at odds with a vision of a state full of potential.

Maggie Mullen

Wyoming is known as the Equality State. So it's fitting that earlier this year one of its Boy Scout Troops was amongst the first in the country to induct girls. The national organization changed its policy in February to be more inclusive. Since then, Troop 221 in Cheyenne has already seen its female scout number double.

University of Wyoming Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman administrator China Jude was recently named the President of the Minority Opportunities Athletics Association. The goal of the organization is to get more minorities into athletics administration. She tells Bob Beck about her goals during her two year term.

Charles Fournier

June is Pride Month. So this first installation of the "Belonging" series is a conversation between Connor Sears and Jesse Archambeau. They're both 2018 Cheyenne East High School grads who left for college in Peoria, Illinois where a more prominent LGBTQ community has helped them to foster their own identities. Now, they struggle with the reality that their absences perpetuate a trend that leaves Wyoming's queer youth without the mentorship they themselves yearned for.


Update posted June 26, 2019 at 5:48 p.m.: A spokesperson with Clayton Homes says the company has reopened conversations with the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center about the properties they own in Dearfield. "Our hope is to find a way to support their goals while moving ahead with plans to establish affordable housing in the area," said a statement.

http://www.uwyo.edu/diversity/today/

As a part of the University of Wyoming's strategic plan, students, staff and faculty are being asked to participate in a survey on diversity and campus climate. 

A film festival highlighting women athletes is showing in Laramie this week. The No Man's Land Film Festival started in Carbondale, Colorado and now travels around the world with the goal of making the adventure and sports film genre more diverse.

London Homer-Wambeam

At the University of Wyoming Student Union, a long line of students made their way down a row of tables, carefully examining artifacts, many of them taking photos with their phones. They are visiting the Black History 101 Mobile Museum

Award-winning author Nina McConigley reflects on her life growing up in Wyoming. McConigley discusses her life journey of being a girl, teenager, woman, and teacher - neither fully Indian, nor fully Anglo, but thoroughly American. thinkwy.org/podcast/

Maggie Mullen

The trucking industry is facing a record shortage of drivers. However, over the last couple of years, one demographic has been gravitating towards the industry by the thousands: Indian-American Sikhs.

Screen shot from http://www.uwyo.edu/aist/index.html

The University of Wyoming has released a draft strategic plan designed to better meet the needs of Native American students and their communities.

yr.media

An essay has drawn national attention to how University of Wyoming faculty address difficult topics like racism when they come up in the classroom. It was written by Taylar Stagner, a Native American graduate of the University of Wyoming, who is also a part-time reporter at Wyoming Public Radio.

Taylar Dawn Stagner


Across the country, Native American students are severely underrepresented in higher education . Only 16 percent of Native Americans have a bachelor's degree. That's compared to 42 percent of white students. But a collective effort — that spans from the Wind River Reservation to the University of Wyoming — is helping to close that achievement gap.

Screen shot from http://www.uwyo.edu/diversity/council-on-dei/committee-membership.html

The University of Wyoming is introducing new mandatory training for faculty and staff in an effort to foster a stronger culture of inclusivity. Increased programming on diversity and inclusion is part of the university's strategic plan.

Melodie Edwards

A Tour Of Rawlins

Longtime Rawlins city councilor and former mayor DeBari Martinez gives me a tour around town in his truck. He points out all the Latino-owned businesses we pass: a flower shop, a photographer's studio, a steakhouse.

The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express

Wyoming is ranked 42nd in the nation for growth of women-owned businesses since 2007, with a 22 percent increase in that time. That’s compared to a 58 percent increase of women-owned businesses nationwide. But Wyoming still ranks in the top ten for women’s businesses that employ large numbers of people.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

The University of Wyoming (UW) officially launched its controversial new marketing plan with a presentation, Tuesday, to orient staff to the campaign's central slogan: “The world needs more cowboys.” But it’s raised the question: what about more cowgirls?

Caroline Ballard

Nearly a quarter of Wyoming’s population is Native American. But how they are portrayed—by Natives and by whites—is complicated.

University of Wyoming

Until recently, Wyoming was one of only two states without a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association. UW law student Debra Bullock started a chapter this winter, in part to be able to participate in the organization’s Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition. 

Jane W. Wolfinbarger

Jason Thompson serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion on the U.S. Olympic Committee. But back in the ‘90s, before he was running diversity initiatives for the Olympic Committee, he was the first black president of ASUW at the University of Wyoming. Now, he’s returning to his alma mater as the keynote speaker of UW’s MLK Days of Dialogue.

Anna Rader

As part of our series, “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards journeyed into the heart of Wyoming’s coal country to the city of Gillette up in the northeast corner. Recently, it’s become an intensely divided community. In the last election, Wyoming went in greater percentage to Donald Trump than any other state, but Campbell County was one of the counties that supported Trump more than any other in Wyoming.

University of Wyoming

It’s been a rough couple of years for the University of Wyoming where budget cutting, layoffs, and reorganization have been themes. Lately, the focus has been on less stressful ventures like enhancing STEM teaching, diversity, and a variety of initiatives.

One issue for University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols is to try to address that lack of faculty and staff pay raises. She tells Bob Beck that those raises should be here by July.

Anna Rader

The University of Wyoming has a job opening for a Native American Program Advisor. The hope is for the person to help bring up native enrollment numbers which are at an all-time low.

Since her arrival, UW President Laurie Nichols has made Native American enrollment a priority. James Trosper is the director of the Native American Education and Research Center. He said her message of inclusion is already starting to resonate and more Native Americans applied for tribal scholarships this year than last.

PBS

Wyoming is one of 45 states that officially celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the freedom of African-American slaves in the United States.

Even though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery, in 1862, it was three years later on June 19th, 1865 when slaves in Texas received word of their freedom. Celebrations of this day became known as Juneteenth.

In 2003 the state legislature passed a bill dedicating the third Saturday of every June to honor this historic moment.

Miles Bryan

A group of UW student protestors called “BreakthrUWYO” staged a walkout of a discussion on diversity put on by the school and attended by UW president Dick McGinity Tuesday night.

 

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Over the last few years, Wyoming's African American population has grown faster than in any other state. According to census data, between 2010 and 2013, the number of black residents doubled. In some counties, especially those with a lot of energy development or tourism, that increase was more like 300, 500 or even 800 percent. Other rural Western states, all with unemployment rates well below the national average, are experiencing a similar trend.

Mike Higgins / http://bicyclecorps.blogspot.com/

The Train Depot in Laramie will host a talk on the only African-American bicycle corps of the U.S. Army on Saturday, May 2.

The group was formed in Missoula, Montana in the 1890s. Wyoming elementary school teacher Mike Higgins has researched the group for years. He says the corps was the idea of an officer named James Moss, who was looking to make a name for himself. Moss latched onto the idea that bikes could be used in combat.

Courtesy photo

Nina McConigley is the author of Cowboys and East Indians, and a recent winner of the PEN Open Book award. She joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the award and said the news of her win took a little time to reach her.

The face of Wyoming is changing, slowly but steadily, according to Wyoming’s Principal Economist Wenlin Liu, who says the state will continue to see ethnic diversity as people move here to work. There has been a 17-percent increase in all ethnic groups between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile, white population growth was only a little over one percent.

Liu says minority populations are also keeping the median age lower than the national average by as much as a year.

The University of Wyoming Muslim Student Association is inviting the public to experience Muslim people and culture first-hand during Islam Awareness Week, April 8-13.

One of the organizers is an education student from Morocco. Adil Bentahar has lived in the U.S. for four years, and he says many Americans know very little about his religion, Islam. “When I watch the news, I see that much of what is being communicated does not describe me as I am.”