Beyond that fact that we’re grateful we survived another Laramie winter and that spring is just around the corner — we promise — there were several events in April and the early days of May that give us even more to celebrate as the seasons change. Most of these events fall under the cultural diversity umbrella and, with our population of international students at the University of Wyoming and the historic cultural diversity across the state, deserve to be noted.
Several international cultural events at UW took place in April and, in particular, one of our board members attended the Central Asian Students Association festival meant to shine a spotlight on the cultures and customs of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and the student body members who hail from these countries. Starting with a video presentation that focused on historical figures in science and math, continuing with traditional dances, music, clothes and songs, and culminating in a delicious dinner, a very lively and entertaining evening was enjoyed by all. A bonus was watching the smallest and youngest in the room who knew the hand and feet movements to many of the dances. Other events were on the calendar also, including the Celebrate Nepal event and most recently an event celebrating Balinese music and culture.
We want to express our appreciation of the unplanned policy action that Governor Mark Gordon initiated during the lunch that followed the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March on campus. Gov. Gorden signed a proclamation declaring May 5, 2019 (today) Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Day across the state. But after being urged to form a task force to combat the high rates of missing and murdered women and girls on the Wind River Reservation, he declared that he would indeed form such a task force. This tragedy is not exclusive to the reservation, and women and girls need protection everywhere, but the high incidence on a reservation within our borders calls attention to a cultural phenomenon that is not something to celebrate but to combat.
The Laramie Audubon Society mounted its second art show at the Berry Center with the theme “A Study in Biodiversity: Showcasing the Richness of Life” which was open to all Laramie artists working in any medium. It has been well-visited and continues through May 10. Our appreciation to the LAS volunteers who made this happen and gave a creative outlet to artists of all ages and backgrounds.
And our hats off also to the Albany County School District No. 1 school board for considering allowing cultural representations and honorary graduation cords, including those from clubs and organizations not sponsored by the school to adorn a graduate’s cap and gown; it is his or her graduation, after all, and these representations can be an addition to the celebration and signify hard work and participation, not a distraction. Carefully constructed, thoughtful guidelines derived from a task force of diverse community members and educators can assure this.
Our editorial deadline doesn’t allow us to get specific about events that take place after we hit submit, but we would like to acknowledge our gratitude to all the people who were involved in the 7th Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Lincoln Center yesterday, an international celebration commemorating the 1862 Mexican army victory over the French. Besides celebrating that historic event, a car show, food, dances, games and all things fun make this a wonderful community celebration for people from all backgrounds.
And of course, we hope that the thousands of people expected to visit Laramie, as well as the hundreds of locals thoroughly enjoyed the arrival of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4014 steam engine traveling under its own steam and its companion UP Northern No. 844 steam locomotive traveling to Ogden, Utah, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad and the laying of the Golden Spike. Our thanks to everyone in Laramie involved in promoting this event which included activities and tours of the train depot provided by the Historic Laramie Railroad Depot Association. While not as obvious a member of our cultural diversity umbrella, history teaches us that people from many cultures, countries and ethnicities worked on this monumental project.