RECAP OF 2021:
Wyoming Rising members continue to remain connected through monthly meetings. We’ve moved our meetings online, which has its pros and cons – we miss the warmth of in-person meetings but Zoom meetings are convenient and safe during this 2nd pandemic year. Monthly membership meetings have included book discussions, conversations with elected Wyoming leaders, and guest presentations. Members of the Wyoming Rising leadership team are actively engaged in writing op-ed articles to local newspapers, appearing on local radio, writing monthly newsletters and maintaining an active website.
We continue to work at keeping readers appraised of the importance of the Park County Natural Resource Management Plan by Park County Commissioners and the development of the Shoshone National Forest Travel Management Plans.
We are beginning to build connections with leaders from around the state in conversation about civility and democracy. We are collaborating with Healthy Wyoming, Wyoming Organizing Network, Better Wyoming, and other grass-roots advocacy groups to build effectiveness statewide.
We share news with our membership from state and regional organizations (Equality State Policy Center, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Healthy Wyoming Coalition, Campaign Nonviolence, Better Angels, Better Wyoming, Wyofile, and Better Wyoming).
We continue to participate with Braver Angels, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, and other national movements to promote civility and to meet the challenges of climate change.
HERE IS A DETAILED LOOK BACK AT 2021
A year ago, during the election season, our friends and neighbors reported that their Biden/Harris yard signs were being removed. A grassroots campaign emerged to put up a sign that could not be taken down. Funds were raised for billboards in Cody and Powell featuring a Biden/Harris yard sign on the White House lawn. Wyoming Rising facilitated the project by managing the funds, creating the graphic, and renting the billboard.
It made us smile every time we drove past. You can see a photo of the billboard here: https://www.wyomingrising.org/2020/10/18/unity-over-division/
The popularity of that first billboard sparked our creative juices and we committed to another three billboards during 2021.
The second and third billboards were designed as a response to an incident in Wapiti, when a same-sex couple were harassed and intimidated by their conservative neighbors. https://www.codyenterprise.com/news/local/article_56c875e4-0e59-11eb-80e3-fbf68b24f072.html and https://www.wyomingrising.org/2021/08/01/new-billboard-going-up/
We intend to continue to courageously stand up and publically speak the truth. Planning for a 2022 series of billboards is underway.
Wyoming Rising leaders were on “Speak Your Piece” KODI radio talk show in April and May to highlight Wyoming Rising’s Earth Day events and discuss climate change, focusing on the carbon dividend solution as proposed in Congress.
We were pursuing a monthly slot on KODI’s “Speak Your Piece” until we learned of Darian Dudrick’s death in September. He was the host of that show.
In January and February, we published a new page on our website: “Guide To The 2021 Wyoming Legislative Session: How to track bills and influence legislation”: https://www.wyomingrising.org/guide-to-the-2021-wyoming-legislative-session/
We continue to maintain and publish our regional and national legislator’s contact information on our website.
Beginning in March, and through the rest of the year, we advocated for Medicaid Expansion in Wyoming with emails, posts, and guest editorials. In November we held an online Vigil for Medicaid Expansion. https://mailchi.mp/50edca5e1f8e/vigil-for-affordable-health-care. We will continue this advocacy during the 2022 Wyoming legislative session.
In honor of Earth Day, April 22, Wyoming Rising presented a slate of online events. This year we offered four inspiring and profound films to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and global warming with the hope that viewers will be inspired to take steps toward protecting our Blue Planet. We also presented a Climate Simulation Workshop and hosted a talk & discussion about “Climate Change And The Oceans”.
In May, we held our Annual Membership Meeting in person, discussed options for future actions, and conducted an election of a new slate of Officers.
In June We created our first paid position: Communications Coordinator. https://wp.me/p9cYhN-1p2
July saw the 11th annual Return to Foretop’s Father, and while it’s not a Wyoming Rising-sponsored event, we do all we can to publicize it and participate in it.
In September we held our biggest event of the year— a panel discussion with Senator Al Simpson (R), Gov. Mike Sullivan (D), State Senator RJ Kost (R), 2020 U.S. Senate candidate, Dr. Merav Ben-David (D), and moderator Nate Martin, Executive Director of Better Wyoming. “Democracy 2021: The Future of the 2-Party System” was introduced by Wyoming Rising Chair, Mary Keller.
We had hoped to hold the event at the Center of the West in Cody, but Covid forced us back online. The discussion was recorded and can be viewed on our website and YouTube channel. https://www.wyomingrising.org/2021/10/18/democracy-2021-the-future-of-the-2-party-system/
November saw us back on Zoom with a vigil for affordable health care in Wyoming. https://www.wyomingrising.org/2021/11/10/open-membership-meeting-and-online-vigil/
And at the end of the year, in December we sent out a survey to our former (non-renewing) members to learn what we might do better in order to convince them to return. If you received that survey and haven’t responded, we would still love to hear from you.
Wyoming Rising is an all volunteer organization. Our Leadership Team consists of officers elected by members, each serving for a term of two years. The team also includes advisors appointed from our membership. The Leadership Team plans events and messages that are consistent with WR’s goals and objectives.
Our 2021-2022 Leadership Team:
- Mary Keller, Chair
- Laurie Larsen, Co-Chair
- Deepthi Amarasuriya, Membership
- Linda Suddeth, Secretary
- Ann Pasek, Treasurer
- Renée Tafoya, Communications
- Ronn Smith, advisor
- Mary Ellen Ibarra-Robinson, advisor
- Phyllis Roseberry, advisor
- Ysaac Amarillas, advisor
- Cindy Bennett, advisor