Cheyenne to participate in statewide vigils honoring Wyomingites who have died because they lacked healthcare access

A vigil is planned for Andrew Knabel Saturday, Jan. 18.
A vigil is planned for Andrew Knabel Saturday, Jan. 18.(Pexels)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) - Local members of Healthy Wyoming will host a candlelight vigil in Cheyenne next week to honor and remember our neighbors who have died and who are suffering because they cannot afford healthcare.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 17, on the steps of the Wyoming State Capitol (200 W 24th Street). It will feature speakers and storytellers, as well as a moment of silence and benediction. Everyone is invited to attend.

The vigil in Cheyenne is part of a series of events hosted by the Healthy Wyoming coalition in communities across our state this month, mostly on Sept. 17. Vigils are scheduled in Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Rock Springs, Sheridan, and Gillette. Others are being planned in Lander, Jackson, Cody, Thermopolis, and elsewhere. See a full list of events here.

“Wyoming is experiencing a healthcare crisis, with tens of thousands of adults unable to afford basic care,” Healthy Wyoming organizer and Cheyenne resident Marcie Kindred said. “The human cost of this crisis is staggering, and it impacts all of us. But this cost is rarely acknowledged in public. Families and friends are too often left to grieve and struggle in isolation as their loved ones suffer and die. We’re hoping to change that.”

The vigils and events this month will publicly bring together community and faith leaders, individuals directly impacted by the healthcare crisis, and Wyoming residents who are dedicated to finding solutions.

In addition to providing opportunities to honor our neighbors, these events will demonstrate to state policymakers that the people of Wyoming demand action.

“We recognize that Wyoming’s political leaders have the ability to prevent death and suffering through policy decisions like expanding Medicaid,” Kindred said. “We understand that they can save people’s lives, and we ask them to immediately act.”

The vigils across the state will look different in each community, as local residents are responsible for organizing each one. They will differ in size and scope, but they will all be orderly, respectful gatherings. All events will take place outdoors, where COVID-19 transmission rates remain very low. Participants will respect social distancing and wear masks when appropriate. The events will be livestreamed and recorded when possible.

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