Statement of Solidarity with UW Students & Condemnation of Senator Anthony Bouchard

LARAMIE, WY - On Friday, April 7th, at the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, University of Wyoming (UW) students Desmin Lewis, Tyrell Proby, and Jerard Swan presented research on the impact concealed carry permits have on minority communities—particularly men of color. Senator Anthony Bouchard (R - SD 6) attended their presentation only to demean the relevance of their project and threaten them, along with their supervising Synergy Program Instructor Allison Gernant.

Lewis, Proby, and Swan presented research on the safety concerns men of color face when concealed carry legislation is passed without keeping in mind the safety of all citizens. The research was in direct response to a controversial piece of legislation Senator Bouchard himself introduced during the recent legislative session to allow concealed carry holders to carry on college campuses in Wyoming.

Rather than respectfully considering the research and listening to constituents’ concerns—even those with which he may disagree—Bouchard did the exact opposite, threatening to revoke their 1st Amendment rights, strip their program’s funding, and fire supervising Instructor Allison Gernant. Beyond verbally assaulting these students and their Instructor in person, Senator Bouchard further made condescending comments about them through his personal Facebook account. Senator Bouchard is using his position of power as a lawmaker to threaten, intimidate, and silence academic research which he does not agree with.

Robert West, Vice Chair of the Young Democrats of Wyoming, released the following statement: “Republicans like to say we’re the most important resource the State of Wyoming has to offer, that young people are the future. But where’s the proof? When they make statements like Senator Bouchard did last week, it’s hard for Wyoming’s youth to feel respected, represented, or welcome here. And then they wonder why our youth are leaving faster than we can create jobs for them.”

As President Trump embraces baseless claims and ignores academic research as a guiding principle throughout his Administration, Wyoming Republicans must resist the urge to do the same and we must hold them accountable when they attempt to do so.

As Democrats, we value academic research and use reason to make policy decisions, even when faced with challenging information. No one should be proud of their ignorance.

As Wyoming youth, we are tired of being used as talking points while our voices are silenced. We have ideas and perspectives relevant to policy decisions. We believe youth, people of color, and other marginalized groups in our State deserve to have elected officials that not only listen to them, but actively work to address their concerns—not dismiss them.

The Young Democrats of Wyoming believe these students and Instructor Gernant deserve a sincere, honest apology from Senator Bouchard. We believe Black Lives Matter. Black voices matter. Black stories matter. We stand in solidarity with Lewis, Proby, Swan, and Instructor Gernant, and we urge Republicans to do better and stop silencing Wyoming’s youth and people of color.

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For more information or to answer any questions you might have, please contact Young Democrats of Wyoming Secretary Carrie Murthy at carrie.murthy@gmail.com.

**Link and screenshots of Senator Anthony Bouchard’s Facebook Post on next page**

Senator Anthony Bouchard’s Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1510342815644456&set=a.261339147211502.73210.100000062553170&type=3&permPage=1

Carrie Murthy