race

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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.

Cities and counties across the country are declaring that racism is a public health crisis, including at least one city in the Mountain West.

Kamila Kudelska

As the protests erupt throughout the nation and state over police brutality, some law enforcement officials have come out speaking against George Floyd's killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. 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.

Chief Baker spoke at a rally in Cody saying he was there to listen. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska sat down with the Cody police chief to hear what he learned from being present at the rally.

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. 

Nimi McConigley

Even though women in Wyoming were allowed to vote, run for office and get involved in politics back in 1870, it took much longer after that for women of color to get elected.

The first Black woman to get elected to office in Wyoming was Elizabeth Byrd. She started out in the Wyoming House of Representatives, in 1981. That's close to a century later after women were first granted the right to vote and run for office.

What took so long?

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.

 


Three Nevadans face terrorism-related charges after allegedly plotting to incite violence at recent protests in Las Vegas over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in police custody.

Editor's note: NPR will be continuing this conversation about Being Black in America online and on air.

As protests continue around the country against systemic racism and police brutality, black Americans describe fear, anger and a weariness about tragic killings that are becoming all too familiar.

All laboratories will now be required to include detailed demographic data when they report the results of coronavirus tests to the federal government, including the age, sex, race and ethnicity of the person tested, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

The new requirement, which will go into effect Aug. 1, is designed to help provide long-sought, crucial information needed to monitor and fight the pandemic nationally.

Laramie County Library Source

The Wyoming State Museum's traveling exhibit on black homesteaders, "Empire: A Community of African-Americans on the Wyoming Plains" is on display now at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne. Founded in 1908, Empire was a black community about ten miles northeast of Torrington, and about a mile past the Nebraskan border. 

Savannah Maher

Temperatures dipped below 10 degrees in Riverton on Monday, Jan 20. But that didn't stop more than 100 people from participating in the city's 17th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day "Walk for Unity."

Students and faculty leaders at the University of Montana are calling for the removal of swastika-like symbols from a historic building, sparking a debate over its use across the West. 

McCormick Junior High

In March, racist and homophobic flyers were passed out by students at McCormick Junior High School to members of the school's Gay Straight Alliance club. It was the latest, but far from the only instance of bullying to take place at the Cheyenne school. And it put the school under a spotlight.

Bishop Museum

Back in 1908, Hawaiian Cowboys competed in the Cheyenne Frontier Days. In the new book, Aloha Rodeo: The Three Cowboys, the World's Greatest Rodeo, and the Hidden History of the American West, co-author David Wolman explores how and why Hawaiian Cowboys came to compete in the rodeo. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska asked Wolman if the two cowboy cultures were different in any way.

"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.

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/

Grieving Boiseans and members of the refugee community gathered Monday night to pray, hold vigil and deliver white flowers for the victims of Saturday’s mass stabbing.

 


Update, 1:49 p.m. Monday: The suspect in Saturday night’s mass stabbing is now facing first-degree murder charges after one of the victims died at a Utah hospital.

 


Caroline Ballard

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

W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell is a socio-political comedian and host of the hit Emmy Award-nominated CNN docu-series, United Shades of America. W. Kamau Bell talks about his life work as a political comedian and what that means for him personally and professionally.

Wyoming State Historical Society

The Wyoming House passed a bill to create a day commemorating Estelle Reel. She was the first woman elected to a statewide office in 1894, as the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

 

While the majority of lawmakers wanted to recognize Reel’s accomplishment, House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly said Reel’s discriminatory attitude toward Native Americans and women should make them think twice.

 

Connolly said she researched Reel and read multiple articles.

 

Sheridan.edu

Tribal leaders, national policymakers and educators came together last week at Sheridan College to talk about how to decrease racial tensions on their campus. Back in September, racial slurs were written on a whiteboard on the dorm door of two Native American students there, prompting a series of discussions about how to prevent future attacks.

Northern Arapaho Chairman Roy Brown participated in the roundtable and said he commends the college for taking action.

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.

Darrah Perez

Half of American Indians living in native majority areas say they or a family member feel they’ve been treated unfairly by the courts, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s a lack of justice that Wind River Reservation residents say they live with every day. Now the tribes are working together to solve the problem.

One morning, Northern Arapaho member Rose was sitting at the table with her 14-year-old daughter, Latoya.

Spoken Words 12: Marlin Holmes

Nov 1, 2017
University of Wyoming

The difference between poetry and slam poetry is vibrant and apparent in this interview with University of Wyoming PhD student, Marlin Holmes. Taking inspiration from rap, hip-hop, and a high school English assignment, Holmes discusses his passion for the spoken word, and shares some of his creations; rotating between narratives of identity and race, and the journey of finding love. 

Darrah Perez

Wind River Reservation resident Clarisse Harris was one of the 40 participants who attended the “Against Racism” workshop put on by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. She says she attended the workshop thinking even she could be racist, but after attending the workshop, Harris came away thinking she wasn’t.

Only six of the 40 workshop attendees were non-native, two of them from Fremont County. Community member Chesie Lee says she was disappointed more non-natives community members didn’t attend.

Annie E. Casey Foundation

A new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds kids from immigrant families, as well as children of color, face persistent challenges that hinder their economic future.  

Caroline Ballard

Fifteen-year-old Kade Clark stood shirtless at a water spigot outside the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk. He reached into a bucket full of red-brown dirt, grabbed a handful, and ran it under the water. Then, he began to paint himself.

“So we look like Indians and stuff. Yea you get it wet, it gets on easier,” said Clark.

Clark is white, and is one of the dozens of people, from toddlers to the elderly, playing Sioux Indians in The Legend of Rawhide, the annual July Pageant and Wild West re-enactment.

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