Wyoming Arts Council

Terry Tempest Williams keynote speaker at UW's Got Equality event

Went to the Got Equality event at the UW conference center at the Hilton Garden Inn. What a great facility. Got Equality encourages UW young women into leadership roles. Two workshops were offered at the event. The one I attended was about how women can run a successful campaign. The White House Project sponsored this workshop and I don’t think we have to much to worry about as far as the younger (female) generation’s civic involvement.

We broke up into groups. Each group had to choose the candidate that was going to run, what office they were going to run for, what their important issues and values were. The rest of the team — a campaign manager, a volunteer coordinator, a press secretary, financial manager — had to come up with all of the other ideas in running a campaign. After about twenty minutes, each candidate from each group got up and gave their campaign speech. Each young woman did a great job. These were UW students, from all different areas of study.

The dinner was buffet and the keynote speaker was Terry Tempest Williams, who has just released her new book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World. It is about her brother’s death from cancer, a prairie dog settlement that was being killed off, and her travels to Rwanda. She brought her own special perspective about leadership, talking about a grandmother, who led their Rwandan village through the healing process with many of the other young women there.

She also talked about her “Weather Report” Project at UW last year during her term as their first “Eminent Professor Writer in Residence” role, and the people (women) she has met around the state that have been instrumental in dealing with environmental, political and social problems. She read Beth Howard’s piece, who came to the Casper “Report,” about why she writes — as a pacifist mother who has two sons in the military; both were in Iraq at the time. Terry talked about a woman in Pinedale, who fought the oil people back in the 80s, when the idea was circulating that nuclear bombs should be exploded below the earth’s surface to release the trapped gas. She read a story about her mother, (read Terry’s book, Refuge) who went on a spiritual journey into the desert, and came back with a better understanding of herself. It was incredibly inspiring and she received a very enthusiastic standing ovation.

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