If you are a Billy Joel fan, We Didn't Start the Fire is a great song with a sobering message. Troubles have been around since the world's been turning, as the song implies.
Regardless of how long problems have plagued this world, we all have a responsibility to follow the advice of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, also known as the father of the scouting movement. He said, "Leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time but have done your best." I am impressed that companies across this country are firmly embracing this sentiment. Even before the start of COVID-19, companies were becoming more and more interested in their communities' social fabric. The realization that their employees' well-being and the social fabric of the communities they do business in is inextricably tied to the company's health drove this sentiment. It is a great thing when businesses fully embrace both their desire to be a profitable entity and a responsibility to their community. Wyoming businesses have been strong leaders in these efforts, and there is much to be proud of as we notice companies working diligently to make communities better. The government in Wyoming has been a little slower on the uptake in this regard. As businesses have worked diligently to ensure that employees of all ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds and employees and customers of different sexual orientations feel comfortable in the workplace, the government has done nothing but drag its feet on the issue. Most noticeably, Wyoming is one of only three states in the nation that has not passed some version of a bias crimes bill. While it is true that your momma told you just because your friends might jump off a cliff does not mean you have to as well, it makes me cringe a little to know that our race to the bottom on this issue only has two other competitors left; South Carolina and Arkansas. The interesting truth of bias crimes bills is that it is essential to economic development recruitment, and more so, it is just the right thing to do. When you look around this country, organizations of all kinds have supported the passage of inclusion and diversity laws. Churches, bar associations, police organizations, civic groups, business organizations, and others have all joined forces across America because they know treating all people with dignity and respect regardless of their differences is the right thing to do. Let us get on it, Wyoming. Passage of a bias crimes bill is vital for business in this state, and it is the right thing to do. Let's get it done in 2021.
- Dale Steenbergen CEO and President of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce