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Chesie's Journal: On Our Way to the Polls

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Thursday evening, I was tired but pushed myself to attend a candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters (LWV) at the library for the mayor and state house district races. I was the last person to arrive, as the LWV president said welcome, and I determined that a seat was only available near the front. As I sat down, I felt everyone’s eyes on me, instead of the two mayor candidates on stage, both also looking at me.

Racism in Riverton was the subject of a written question to the mayor candidates that came from the audience (not me). Wow! I wonder if that question would have been asked had it not been for the Riverton Peace Mission (RPM). Racism is the elephant in the room the last 10 years I have lived here. Just that question being asked is huge!

When RPM spoke during the public comment portion at a City Council meeting only a few months ago, denial of racism was the general response. The first step to solving any problem is acknowledging that the problem exists, then that you are part of the problem and that there’s something we should do about it.

Voting and racism intersect. RPM seeks commitments to vote. Historically, voter turnout among Native Americans is low due to voter suppression, lack of knowledge and not seeing the value. Voting matters especially in local races. One school district on the Wind River Indian Reservation has 13 candidates running for 2 seats on the school board. Voter turnout will make the difference there!

RPM’s Native American Voter Project (NAVP) organizers - Leslie Spoonhunter and Mercedes Harris – have planned an Early Voting Day for this Thursday. On Tuesday they speak at a high school to recruit voters who will be 18 by November 8th. (For more information on NAVP, click here.)

I ask that you Commit to Vote. Contrary to popular opinion, Wyoming’s elections were not over at the Primary. Municipal and school board elections are determined in the General Elections. Some state legislative races are predicted to be close. Voting matters.

Fear not. Be humble. Have faith. Be bold. Build relationships. Do justice.

Chesie Lee

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