There is nothing more rewarding than participating in an event that helps people learn something they didn’t know or see the world in a different way. Imagine what a great job we have, to be able to attend programs all around the state that challenge Wyomingites to explore the human experience through the lenses of the humanities. In Jackson I saw Latinx high school students and their parents, through the miracle of live translation headsets, hear from Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and leading voice for the human rights of immigrants. Vargas is the founder and CEO of Define American, the nation’s leading non-profit media and culture organization that fights injustice and anti-immigrant hate through the power of storytelling. When he shared his story, the families were truly moved with hope for their personal situations. In Powell I saw Bertine Bahige, the principal of an elementary school in Gillette, tell his harrowing personal tale of being a refugee from Uganda and his long trek to becoming a U.S. citizen and Wyomingite. His articulate and remarkable story moved the audience in a way you rarely get to see. More importantly, we got to know Bertine as a passionate educator who is an outstanding leader in his community. Recently, in Moorcroft, 40 people came out to discuss civility in politics with their neighbors and their state representative, Tyler Lindholm. The conversation was rich and cordial and everyone wanted it to continue.
We don’t have the resources to host a live event in every one of the 99 communities of our state every year, but we do focus on touching every county with an in-person project. We also factor location in our work to ensure all Wyomingites have opportunities to engage with the humanities in a face-to-face meaningful way. Additionally, our partnerships with the public broadcasting organizations, our investments in film documentaries, our free portable pop-up kiosk exhibits like the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights and Two Nations One Reservation , and our print and digital publications enable us to serve every county and reach into nearly every home in Wyoming. Perhaps our greatest outreach is our podcast, What’s Your Why?, exploring the human experience with a diverse range of people. In the podcast, Executive Producer Emy diGrappa sits down with special guests to discover their journey and the choices they have made along the way. Our goal is to discover their WHY. Why do people do what they do? What is their passion, their story…their reason why? What new ideas, wisdom, and perspectives can we gain from another person’s experiences? We do this because storytelling is part of our DNA. It is in our nature to tell and seek stories and Wyoming Humanities is excited to present to our state a new show every week. Just go to wherever you subscribe to podcasts and select What’s Your Why?
We are blessed with a state of curious and intellectually engaged people and we hope to increase the number of life-long learners who come to our programs and listen to our podcasts every year. When we finish an event, big or small, we see just how important our work is. When you come out to our programs and honor us with the gift of your valuable time, we are just so very grateful. When we ask our audiences for feedback, nearly everyone responds that they will talk about the event with someone who wasn’t there. Our reach goes beyond and through you. For that we can’t be more thankful. Our dream is to say we’ve “touched” every citizen of Wyoming. I hope you’ll help us in this worthy endeavor!