The Wyoming Humanities Council and Wyoming PBS are hosting a panel discussion on refugee resettlement next week. It's part of a Humanities Council series exploring the issue in Wyoming, the only state without a refugee resettlement program.
The panel will feature former refugee and teacher Bertine Bahige , UW law professor Suzan Pritchett, and state Representative Tom Reeder.
Shannon Smith is the executive director of the Wyoming Humanities Council. She says people have made threats on social media in response to recent talks and panels about refugee resettlement in Casper and Gillette.
"So we do provide security for these conversations just because right now the rhetoric has become a little bit heated," says Smith.
Because of those security concerns the event is not open to the public. Smith says people have been quick to stereotype both sides of the issue of refugee resettlement.
"Not every person who is opposed to or concerned about refugee resettlement as an issue – they’re not all xenophobic racists, but some are, a handful are, and that hurts that cause. And it’s on the other side as well. Not all refugees are Muslim, and not all refugees are Syrian," says Smith.
She says she hopes the statewide conversation will be a more nuanced discussion.
It can be watched on Wyoming PBS and livestreamed at wyomingpbs.org. Viewers can submit questions ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The broadcast will take place at 7pm Thursday, March 24th.