A lesson on diversity equity and inclusion
Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen –
First, From Whence Came the Cowboy is a wonderful song by Sons of the San Joaquin. The song is all about the history of the cowboy. It details how the first cowboys migrated from Spain then picked up central and south American influence, and how people of African descent made up as much as one third of the “oldies” that rode up and down the expanse of cattle trails.
Actually, Wyoming has been diverse since the beginning. We’ve had Asian influence and many others from the building of the railroad, one of the first Jewish Synagogues in the West, and a variety of cultures from all over the world due to our strong military presence. The live and let live culture is something we should celebrate, and we should have deep pride in our heritage of judging humans on their character, work ethic, and dedication rather than on the color of their skin, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion issues influence our ability to do economic development, our relationship with the military, and our reputation as a state. We should all be concerned that we continue our wonderful heritage of being accepting of those who are willing to embrace our strong western culture.
Unfortunately, we have had more than a few issues related to people of color in recent days. While one incident would have been too many, the fact that several have occurred is heartbreaking. We all need to be more aware of our actions and remind our neighbors, our families, and our friends that Cheyenne is a great community and bad behaviors need to end immediately. Our Cowboy culture is something that Cheyenne and the entire state should be proud of, but if we are truly going to live up to “the legend of the cowboy” then our arms should be open and welcoming to people of every color and creed that seek prosperity in the “Magic City.” We Got This, Cheyenne!