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The Excruciating Echo of Grief in Uvalde

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The community buried 21 people after the Robb Elementary School massacre. In the weeks that followed, the aftershocks only compounded the agony.

A makeshift memorial in front of Robb Elementary School grew quickly in the days after the shooting.

A makeshift memorial in front of Robb Elementary School grew quickly in the days after the shooting.

A group of people embraced after a news conference at Uvalde High School.

A group of people embraced after a news conference at Uvalde High School.

Uvalde residents and family members of those killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting march from the school to Uvalde’s town square.

Uvalde residents and family members of those killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting march from the school to Uvalde’s town square.

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Nikki and Brett Cross, the guardians of Uziyah Garcia, 10, who was killed in the shooting.

Nikki and Brett Cross, the guardians of Uziyah Garcia, 10, who was killed in the shooting.

Uvalde residents and people from across Texas release balloons during an event honoring the victims.

Uvalde residents and people from across Texas release balloons during an event honoring the victims.

J.T. Martinez, 9, attended the funeral of Xavier Lopez, his close relative and best friend.

J.T. Martinez, 9, attended the funeral of Xavier Lopez, his close relative and best friend.

The graves for Irma Garcia, who was killed during the shooting, and her husband, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.

The graves for Irma Garcia, who was killed during the shooting, and her husband, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.

UVALDE, Texas — In a cemetery on the edge of Uvalde, a cluster of fresh graves had been carved from the parched, rocky earth. The dead were claiming new ground: No sod had been laid. No trees had taken root to shield against an unrelenting South Texas sun.

Uvalde had weathered loss, but never anything like this. The community had crossed into unfamiliar terrain, as the massacre at Robb Elementary School created a marathon of mourning that started with vigils in the hours after the May 24 attack and continued for weeks until the last victims were buried.

On June 3, Javier and Gloria Cazares buried their daughter Jacklyn in one of the graves. On June 8, they returned for the burial of their niece, Annabell Rodriguez. A few days later, on a Sunday evening, they were back again with Jacklyn’s older sister, Jazmin. They had just been to the visitation for another classmate who was killed. On their way home, they stopped to collect the balloons they had set out for the 10th birthday Jacklyn was supposed to celebrate on June 10.

“We lost a child,” Ms. Cazares said. “We lost all of her friends. Our friends lost children.”

“It’s so much.”

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Part of the cruelty of what Uvalde endured lay in the repetition: One funeral after the next — days with one in the morning, another in the afternoon and then a visitation after that — into the summer. The pastor giving a variation of the same sermon, beseeching an anguished community not to let its anger ferment into malice. The collections of 21 crosses, one for each of the 19 students and two teachers who were killed, that sprouted all over town.

It was an excruciating echo.

It also reflected an enormous undertaking, as overwhelming emotionally as it was logistically, to memorialize the dead and care for those now living with debilitating loss.

Uvalde’s plight is as agonizing as it is familiar. The attack, now more than 10 weeks past, initiated the city into a crowded cohort of American communities forced by a gunman’s actions to navigate the long, brutal path that is the aftermath of mass violence.

Soon, just as in Newtown and Parkland and Sutherland Springs — other places indelibly associated with shootings — the path will splinter into countless trails, diverging as individuals wrestle with varying degrees of trauma and heartache, confront their own struggles and move at their own pace.

But for now, Uvalde is bound by its collective grief.

Dave Graham paid his respects as the funeral procession for Rojelio Torres, 10, drove by him. Mr. Graham came to Texas from Ohio to offer emotional support to members of the community. “I wanted to make a place for people where they could be safe,” he said, “where they could cry or they could yell or they could ask why.”

Dave Graham paid his respects as the funeral procession for Rojelio Torres, 10, drove by him. Mr. Graham came to Texas from Ohio to offer emotional support to members of the community. “I wanted to make a place for people where they could be safe,” he said, “where they could cry or they could yell or they could ask why.”

Uvalde hosted the Texas Little League District 21 All-Star tournament, where posters were hung honoring the players who were killed in the shooting.

Uvalde hosted the Texas Little League District 21 All-Star tournament, where posters were hung honoring the players who were killed in the shooting.

A mourner at one of many makeshift memorials around Uvalde.

A mourner at one of many makeshift memorials around Uvalde.

Uvalde’s town square was also turned into a makeshift memorial.

Uvalde’s town square was also turned into a makeshift memorial.

A Border Patrol agent hugged a community member at a memorial ceremony.

A Border Patrol agent hugged a community member at a memorial ceremony.

Xavier Lopez’s family had T-shirts made in his honor.

Xavier Lopez’s family had T-shirts made in his honor.

Matthew Villanueva, 10, of San Antonio, looks on as Michael Sanchez, a San Antonio artist, adjusts the placement of doves for a mural honoring the victims.

Matthew Villanueva, 10, of San Antonio, looks on as Michael Sanchez, a San Antonio artist, adjusts the placement of doves for a mural honoring the victims.

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Uvalde is a small community of roughly 16,000 people, situated in the scrubby, wide open territory between San Antonio and the Mexican border.

The shooting has made it feel even smaller.

In some ways, that has been reassuring, a testament to the community’s cohesion.

But it has also been constricting. And in the immediate aftermath, a crush of outsiders swarmed into town: law enforcement officials, reporters and camera crews, politicians, evangelists, Meghan Markle, motorcycle gangs, people who came to help, and others who slowly drove through town, drawn by lurid curiosity — all creating a sense that Uvalde was stuffed well beyond capacity.

The crowds have largely retreated and the mountainous memorials have been consolidated. The void has been filled by a growing outrage, inflamed by revelations about apparently catastrophic miscalculations by law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting.

And for months now, the community has been grappling with how much has been lost.

“As we deal with what has happened, we have a lot of questions without answers,” the Rev. Emmanuel Pacheco, the pastor of Church Time of Life in nearby Brackettville, told mourners on June 7.

“It’s OK to have questions,” he said. “And it’s OK to ask God why. God does not get offended by our questions.”

He was speaking at a viewing before the funeral for Xavier Lopez, 10. The boy lay in an open blue coffin with a Tejana hat set on top and sunflowers placed around it. X.J., as his family and friends called him, loved dancing to Tejano music and playing baseball.

The children were at an age where their families could see the people they were becoming — their talents, their personalities taking shape. Maite Rodriguez wanted to turn her passion for dolphins into a life as a marine biologist. Jacklyn Cazares — Jackie, as her family called her — talked ceaselessly about someday visiting Paris; a model of the Eiffel Tower sat on her bedroom dresser.

But families also held onto simple moments. As she spoke at his funeral, X.J.’s grandmother Amelia Sandoval reminisced about how warmly he greeted her every time she came to visit.

“We will always love you,” said Ms. Sandoval, her words overpowered by her sobs.

“I love you, baby.”

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Law enforcement conducted an investigation outside of Robb Elementary School in May.

Law enforcement conducted an investigation outside of Robb Elementary School in May.

A memorial outside Robb Elementary School was filled with pictures of the victims, flowers, crosses, candles and hand-written notes.

A memorial outside Robb Elementary School was filled with pictures of the victims, flowers, crosses, candles and hand-written notes.

Uziyah Garcia’s math notebook was struck by a bullet during the shooting. He was among the 19 children and two teachers killed.

Uziyah Garcia’s math notebook was struck by a bullet during the shooting. He was among the 19 children and two teachers killed.

Pallbearers carried the casket of Amerie Jo Garza into Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Pallbearers carried the casket of Amerie Jo Garza into Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

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Donald Pinedo of San Antonio visited one of the memorials.

Donald Pinedo of San Antonio visited one of the memorials.

Funeral home employees maneuvered the vaults for the burial of Irma Garcia, who was killed during the shooting, and her husband, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.

Funeral home employees maneuvered the vaults for the burial of Irma Garcia, who was killed during the shooting, and her husband, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.

Amid the tides of frustration, anger, confusion and exhaustion, all of it eddying with sorrow, the early weeks of mourning also brought moments of profound kindness.

Every day, dishes were dropped off at the Cazareses’ house — one day, chicken Alfredo; another, enchiladas — part of a meal train that was organized to feed victims’ families. “It helps,” Jazmin Cazares said. “It helps so much.”

And whatever Uvalde couldn’t handle on its own, outsiders took care of, like personalized coffins for each of the children. One man built and erected a 15-foot cross that stands on a main street. Mariachi musicians from around the region performed in the plaza at the heart of the city.

Huge sums of money were raised, though initially, the Cazareses decided against taking any.

“It didn’t feel right,” Gloria Cazares said. “What was it going to do? It’s not going to bring our baby back.”

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Yet some in her extended family tried to persuade her to reconsider. Ms. Cazares works as a home health nurse, and Mr. Cazares has a glass installation business. The relatives asked when they expected to return to work. She didn’t have an answer.

“So, they said, OK, then you have to have a way to pay your bills,” Ms. Cazares said, recounting the conversation. “That’s what everybody wants to help with.”

The family was still reluctant, but the point had gotten through.

Javier Cazares touches a framed photo of his daughter Jackie, 9, while visiting her grave at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery.

Javier Cazares touches a framed photo of his daughter Jackie, 9, while visiting her grave at Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery.

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Mr. Cazares speaks to Jackie in her bedroom each night before he goes to sleep.

Mr. Cazares speaks to Jackie in her bedroom each night before he goes to sleep.

Jackie’s sister, Jazmin Cazares, 17, right, ate dinner with family members, Polly Alaniz, and Polly’s daughter Natalie, 12, at the Cazares family’s home.

Jackie’s sister, Jazmin Cazares, 17, right, ate dinner with family members, Polly Alaniz, and Polly’s daughter Natalie, 12, at the Cazares family’s home.

Mr. Cazares and Jazmin attended a March for Our Lives rally with their family to advocate for stricter gun control laws outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

Mr. Cazares and Jazmin attended a March for Our Lives rally with their family to advocate for stricter gun control laws outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

In the days after Jackie’s funeral, the Cazareses’ home bustled during the day. But at night, Jackie’s absence was inescapable.

In the days after Jackie’s funeral, the Cazareses’ home bustled during the day. But at night, Jackie’s absence was inescapable.

Jazmin Cazares recently sent her sister, Jackie, a text message.

“Don’t forget to wake up early. We have summer academy tomorrow.”

Her brain had slipped into an alternate universe where, the next morning, they would be starting the fine arts program that stages a play each summer. Last year, it was “The Wizard of Oz.” (Jackie played a munchkin and a flying monkey; Jazmin did tech.) This year, it was supposed to be “Beauty and the Beast.”

Reality came crashing back.

“It was like it just hit me all over again,” Jazmin said.

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A rising high school senior, Jazmin was seven years older than Jackie, but they were close. They had their sisterly squabbles, sure. “It upset me so much how she would copy me,” Jazmin said. Jazmin wanted to be a veterinarian, so Jackie wanted to be a veterinarian. Jazmin sang and acted, so Jackie started singing and acting. “I went into her closet the other day, and I saw three shirts of mine that I don’t remember giving her,” she said.

That did not mean Jackie wasn’t her own person. Her mother said she thought her nickname should be spelled Jacky, but Jackie decided otherwise. When she encountered panhandlers, she nudged her parents to give them money or buy them food.

In the days after Jackie’s funeral, the Cazareses’ home bustled during the day. Cousins came and went. Ringo, Lily, Chiquita and Roxy, the family’s dogs, demanded attention.

But at night, Jackie’s absence was inescapable.

“Everybody’s gone,” Ms. Cazares said, “and it’s just us.”

Jackie’s parents had spent their lives in the Uvalde area. Their roots were here, and they could be enveloped in the care of their sprawling families.

But the Cazareses did not dissuade their children’s curiosity about possibilities outside of Uvalde, imagining lives in places they had never visited. Jackie’s older brother enlisted in the Marines. For a while, Jackie wanted to be a Marine, too, until her brother told her about having to wake up at 5 a.m. Then, she had Paris. Jazmin dreamed of going to a university in Britain.

Uvalde High School’s prom was held 10 days before the shooting. “I went to take pictures at my girlfriend’s house,” Jazmin said, “and Jackie was crying the entire time.”

“Why are you crying?” she asked her. “There’s no reason to cry.”

“And I remember her saying that you go to prom, that means you’re going to leave me soon.”

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In one of the photographs from that night, Jackie’s face was stained with tears. She was wearing a shirt she had taken from Jazmin.

Tito Moncada left an event honoring the victims of the shooting in his 1960s-era Chevrolet Impala, which has “Uvalde Strong” written on the rear window.

Tito Moncada left an event honoring the victims of the shooting in his 1960s-era Chevrolet Impala, which has “Uvalde Strong” written on the rear window.

On June 3, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District school board met for the first time since the shooting.

On June 3, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District school board met for the first time since the shooting.

During the district all-star tournament, Marlehn Arellano, 10, held a softball during a ceremony honoring the victims.

During the district all-star tournament, Marlehn Arellano, 10, held a softball during a ceremony honoring the victims.

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A memorial of 21 chairs was set up outside a Head Start building.

A memorial of 21 chairs was set up outside a Head Start building.

Vic Hilderbran, a member of the Uvalde Lions Club, placed flags around the Uvalde County Courthouse in observance of Flag Day.

Vic Hilderbran, a member of the Uvalde Lions Club, placed flags around the Uvalde County Courthouse in observance of Flag Day.

The memorial outside Robb Elementary School, three weeks after the shooting.

The memorial outside Robb Elementary School, three weeks after the shooting.

In the days and weeks after the massacre, the story of what actually happened kept shifting. The temperature kept rising.

The initial official narrative of a swift and heroic response by law enforcement quickly disintegrated. Within 48 hours, the community learned that officers had delayed — some 78 minutes — confronting the gunman.

Mass shootings have produced many activists, as families and survivors are spurred to leap into the fray over gun safety. The same was happening in Uvalde. But the police response added another dimension to the community’s anger — a fury stoked by each new fact that emerged: The police chief arriving on the scene without his radio; officers spending precious time searching for a key to open a classroom door without checking to see if it was unlocked; the police, captured on video, milling around in a hallway.

“We know he was to blame 100 percent,” Ms. Cazares said of the gunman, “but we don’t know how many kids could have been saved.”

Javier Cazares believes his daughter could have been one of them. “If she got out in time,” he said.

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Public meetings grew increasingly heated as the community demanded accountability. The Cazareses participated in a rally in Austin in June calling for tighter gun laws, carrying signs and telling the crowd about Jackie.

Mr. Cazares said that he was nervous and was not sure what to say, but he felt compelled to go and speak up. “It was powerful,” he said. “I’m willing to go out there and do as much as I can.”

If the circumstances were different — if Jackie were rehearsing for her part in “Beauty and the Beast” right now — he almost certainly would not be marching for more gun restrictions.

Mr. Cazares owns an AR-15, the devastatingly powerful rifle favored by gunmen in mass shootings. Since the attack, he has resolved to have his handgun with him more. He was upset with himself for leaving it behind the day of the shooting. Maybe, just maybe, an opportunity could have presented itself, he tells himself, and he could have taken out the gunman.

But he and his wife now argue that an 18-year-old, such as the Robb Elementary gunman, should not be allowed to buy that kind of weapon.

“We’re gun owners,” Ms. Cazares said. “We don’t want to take away guns — and especially in Texas, it’s Texas. But something has to change.”

Vincent Salazar, center, the grandfather of Layla Salazar, 11, who was killed in the shooting, marched from the school to Uvalde’s town square.

Vincent Salazar, center, the grandfather of Layla Salazar, 11, who was killed in the shooting, marched from the school to Uvalde’s town square.

Javier Cazares hugged Caitlyne Gonzales, 10, after she spoke at a rally organized by Mr. Cazares to demand accountability and policy reform in response to the shooting.

Javier Cazares hugged Caitlyne Gonzales, 10, after she spoke at a rally organized by Mr. Cazares to demand accountability and policy reform in response to the shooting.

Ana Rodriguez, the mother of Maite Rodriguez, who was killed in the shooting, at the rally with family members who wore green Converse shoes with hearts drawn on the right toe. They were similar to the shoes Maite had on when she died.

Ana Rodriguez, the mother of Maite Rodriguez, who was killed in the shooting, at the rally with family members who wore green Converse shoes with hearts drawn on the right toe. They were similar to the shoes Maite had on when she died.

In the weeks after the massacre, many family members of the victims and others in Uvalde turned to public activism.

In the weeks after the massacre, many family members of the victims and others in Uvalde turned to public activism.

Uvalde was now pushing into a new frontier of grief.

Uvalde was now pushing into a new frontier of grief.

On July 10, a crowd assembled in front of Robb Elementary. Ms. Cazares was trying to get the protesters — the families of victims and survivors, residents, activists who had come from out of town — ready for a march. Jazmin was handing out water and taking her spot in the front.

The funerals were over. The memorial of flowers, crosses and posters that had consumed the town square had been dismantled, the plaza now conspicuously empty.

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But the protest reflected the depth and intensity of the anger that remained.

One demonstrator carried a large poster with 21 coffins and the message, “This is a reminder of what you didn’t do.” Others had signs calling officers “cowards.”

“Not one more child!” the protesters chanted.

Uvalde was now pushing into a new frontier of grief, its expressions of loss now tinged with indignation and imbued with a new sense of purpose.

“This is for justice,” Jazmin told the crowd. “This is for accountability. But above everything, this is for our freaking kids.”

Produced by Leo Dominguez. Photo editing by Heather Casey.

Read the full article here

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A journalist since 1994, he also founded DMGlobal Marketing & Public Relations. Glover has an extensive list of clients including corporations, non-profits, government agencies, politics, business owners, PR firms, and attorneys.

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MAN ON A MISSION: Jackson State Football Coach Deion Sanders

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(JACKSON, MS) – His name is being heard all over the football world. This time, he’s not the star player. This time, Deion Sanders is the coach. And he is the coach at an HBCU, Jackson State. The school’s history goes back to 1877 in Natchez, Mississippi.

Natchez has a wicked history. Thousands of Blacks were buried there in a mass grave now covered by peaches.

Nonetheless, it is simply wonderful that Coach Sanders has lent himself to such a worthy effort. His sharing of his expertise with the young people in the football program speaks volumes.

According to the Tigers’ website: “Deion Sanders has always been a game-changer. In his tenure as Head Football Coach of Jackson State University, Sanders has again changed the game for Tiger Football, the Department of Athletics, the University as a whole, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, College Football, and the Nation.

An unprecedented calendar year of 2021 showed the power of the influence of Sanders and the brand of Jackson State University coming together as one, seemingly in perfect alignment.

As the Southwestern Athletic Conference played a spring 2021 football season due to the coronavirus, the number 21 Sanders donned on his way to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career became immersed at JSU.

Sanders, named as the 21st head coach in the proud history of JSU football on September 21, 2020, led the Tigers in his first game as head coach on February 21, 2021. A 53-0 win began the Coach Prime era that was a touch point of the elevation of JSU football and the University into becoming one of the most impactful and recognizable brands nationwide.” READ MORE

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Team Dream: 82 AND 77-YEAR OLD BLACK FEMALE SWIMMERS MAKE HISTORY AFTER COMPETING IN NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES

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(PLANTATION, FL) – Ann Smith (age 82) and Madeline Murphy Rabb (age 77) are two African American swimmers who recently competed in the 2022 National Senior Games and were the only Black women to compete in their age group.

Their love for swimming is deep and is a part of a documentary film profiling their passion for swimming as girls who didn’t let barriers to swimming stop them from seeking their sports dreams. Their story is a reminder of the days of segregation where Blacks often could not swim in pools saved for whites.

A documentary short called Team Dream from award-winning filmmaker Luchina Fisher follows their story and will debut at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival in August (and then on BET in the fall) thanks to Procter & Gamble’s initiative Widen the Screen and Queen Collective.

Despite being omitted from the history books, Africans and African Americans have a long history of swimming. Team Dream sheds light on the lack of access to pools for Blacks during segregation that resulted in fewer Blacks learning how to swim.

About the Director
Luchina Fisher is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose work is at the intersection of race, gender, and identity. She can discuss why this film is important to her, how she found Ann and Madeline, and the importance of breaking down the stereotype that “Blacks can’t swim.”

About Widen The Screen
Widen The Screen is an expansive content creation, talent development, and partnership platform that celebrates creativity and enables Black creators to share the full richness of the Black experience. “Only when we Widen The Screen to Widen Our Views can we all broaden the spectrum of images we see, the voices we hear, the stories we tell, and the people we understand.”

About Queen Collective
In 2018, P&G, Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and Tribeca Studios launched the Queen Collective, a mentoring and talent development program designed to give women filmmakers of color a platform to share important stories from their unique perspectives. Now in its fourth year, the Queen Collective is enabling a record number of female directors and other creatives to produce their original documentaries and scripted pieces to share their perspectives through film.

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Liz Cheney Is Ready to Lose. But She’s Not Ready to Quit.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — It was just over a month before her primary, but Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was nowhere near the voters weighing her future.

Ms. Cheney was instead huddled with fellow lawmakers and aides in the Capitol complex, bucking up her allies in a cause she believes is more important than her House seat: Ridding American politics of former President Donald J Trump and his influence.

“The nine of us have done more to prevent Trump from ever regaining power than any group to date,” she said to fellow members of the panel investigating Mr. Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. “We can’t let up.”

The most closely-watched primary of 2022 has not become much of a race at all. Polls show Ms. Cheney losing badly to her rival, Harriet Hageman, Mr. Trump’s vehicle for revenge, and the congresswoman has been all but driven out of her Trump-loving state, in part because of death threats, her office says.

Yet for Ms. Cheney, the race stopped being about political survival months ago. Instead, she’s used the Aug. 16 contest as a sort of a high-profile stage for her martyrdom — and a proving ground for her new crusade. She used the only debate to tell voters to “vote for somebody else” if they wanted a politician who would violate their oath of office. Last week, she enlisted her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to cut an ad calling Mr. Trump a “coward” who represents the greatest threat to America in the history of the republic.

In a state where Mr. Trump won 70 percent of the vote two years ago, Ms. Cheney might as well be asking ranchers to go vegan.

“If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay,” she said in an interview this week in the conference room of a Cheyenne bank.

The 56-year-old daughter of a politician who once had visions of rising to the top of the House leadership — but landed as vice president instead — has become arguably the most consequential rank-and-file member of Congress in modern times. Few others have so aggressively used the levers of the office to attempt to reroute the course of American politics — but, in doing so, she has effectively sacrificed her own future in the institution she grew up to revere.

Ms. Cheney’s relentless focus on Mr. Trump has driven speculation — even among longtime family friends — that she is preparing to run for president. She has done little to dissuade such talk.

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At a house party Thursday night in Cheyenne, with former Vice President Dick Cheney happily looking on under a pair of mounted leather chaps, the host introduced Ms. Cheney by recalling how another Republican woman, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, confronted Senator Joseph McCarthy when doing so was unpopular — and went on to become the first female candidate for president from a major party.

The attendees applauded at the parallel, as Ms. Cheney smiled.

In the interview, she said she was focused on her primary — and her work on the committee. But it’s far from clear that she could be a viable candidate in the current Republican Party, or whether she has interest in the donor-class schemes about a third-party bid, in part because she knows it may just siphon votes from a Democrat opposing Mr. Trump.

Ms. Cheney said she had no interest in changing parties: “I’m a Republican.” But when asked if the G.O.P. she was raised in was even salvageable in the short term, she said: “It may not be” and called her party “very sick.”

The party, she said, “is continuing to drive itself in a ditch and I think it’s going to take several cycles if it can be healed.”

Ms. Cheney suggested she was animated as much by Trumpism as Mr. Trump himself. She could support a Republican for president in 2024, she said, but her redline is a refusal to state clearly that Mr. Trump lost a legitimate election in 2020.

Asked if the ranks of off-limits candidates included Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whom many Republicans have latched onto as a Trump alternative, she said she “would find it very difficult” to support Mr. DeSantis in a general election.

“I think that Ron DeSantis has lined himself up almost entirely with Donald Trump, and I think that’s very dangerous,” Ms. Cheney said.

It’s easy to hear other soundings of a White House bid in Ms. Cheney’s rhetoric.

In Cheyenne, she channeled the worries of “moms” and what she described as their hunger for “somebody’s who’s competent.” Having once largely scorned identity politics — Ms. Cheney was only the female lawmaker who wouldn’t pose for a picture of the women of Congress after 2018 — she now freely discusses gender and her perspective as a mother.

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“These days, for the most part, men are running the world, and it is really not going that well,” she said in June when she spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

In a sign that Ms. Cheney’s political awakening goes beyond her contempt for Mr. Trump, she said she prefers the ranks of Democratic women with national security backgrounds to her party’s right flank.

“I would much rather serve with Mikie Sherrill and Chrissy Houlahan and Elissa Slotkin than Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, even though on substance certainly I have big disagreements with the Democratic women I just mentioned,” Ms. Cheney said in the interview. “But they love this country, they do their homework and they are people that are trying to do the right thing for the country.”

Ms. Cheney is surer of her diagnosis for what ails the G.O.P. than she is of her prescription for reform.

She has no post-Congress political organization in waiting and has benefited from Democratic donors, whose affections may be fleeting. To the frustration of some allies, she has not expanded her inner circle beyond family and a handful of close advisers. Never much of a schmoozer, she said she longed for what she recalled as her father’s era of policy-centric politics.

“What the country needs are serious people who are willing to engage in debates about policy,” Ms. Cheney said.

It’s all a far cry from the Liz Cheney of a decade ago, who had a contract to appear regularly on Fox News and would use her perch as a guest host for Sean Hannity to present her unswerving conservative views and savage former President Barack Obama and Democrats.

Today, Ms. Cheney doesn’t concede specific regrets about helping to create the atmosphere that gave rise to Mr. Trump’s takeover of her party. She did, however, acknowledge a “reflexive partisanship that I have been guilty of” and noted Jan. 6 “demonstrated how dangerous that is.”

Few lawmakers today face those dangers as regularly as Ms. Cheney, who has had a full-time Capitol Police security detail for nearly a year because of the threats against her — protection few rank-and-file lawmakers are assigned. She no longer provides advance notice about her Wyoming travel and, not welcome at most county and state Republican events, has turned her campaign into a series of invite-only House parties.

What’s more puzzling than her schedule is why Ms. Cheney, who has raised over $13 million, has not poured more money into the race, especially early on when she had an opportunity to define Ms. Hageman. Ms. Cheney had spent roughly half her war chest as of the start of July, spurring speculation that she was saving money for future efforts against Mr. Trump.

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Ms. Cheney long ago stopped attending meetings of House Republicans. When at the Capitol, she spends much of her time with the Democrats on the Jan. 6 panel and often heads to the Lindy Boggs Room, the reception room for female lawmakers, rather than the House floor with the male-dominated House G.O.P. conference. Some members of the Jan. 6 panel have been struck by how often her Zoom background is her suburban Virginia home.

In Washington, even some Republicans who are also eager to move on from Mr. Trump question Ms. Cheney’s decision to wage open war against her own party. She’s limiting her future influence, they argue.

“It depends on if you want to go out in a blaze of glory and be ineffective or if you want to try to be effective,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who has his own future leadership aspirations. “I respect her but I wouldn’t have made the same choice.”

Ms. Cheney is mindful that the Jan. 6 inquiry, with its prime-time hearings, is viewed by critics as an attention-seeking opportunity. She has turned down some opportunities that could have been helpful to her ambitions, most notably proposals from documentary filmmakers.

Still, to her skeptics at home, Ms. Cheney’s attacks on Mr. Trump have resurrected dormant questions about her ties to the state and raised fears that she has gone Washington and taken up with the opposition, dismissing the political views of the voters who gave her and her father their starts in electoral politics.

At a parade in Casper last month, held while Ms. Cheney was in Washington preparing for a hearing, Ms. Hageman received frequent applause from voters who said the incumbent had lost her way.

“Her voting record is not bad,” said Julie Hitt, a Casper resident. “But so much of her focus is on Jan 6.”

“She’s so in bed with the Democrats, with Pelosi and with all them people,” Bruce Hitt, Ms. Hitt’s husband, interjected.

Notably, no voters interviewed at the parade brought up Ms. Cheney’s support for the gun control bill the House passed just weeks earlier — the sort of apostasy that would have infuriated Wyoming Republicans in an era more dominated by policy than one man’s persona.

“Her vote on the gun bill hardly got any publicity whatsoever,” Mike Sullivan, a former Democratic governor of Wyoming who intends to vote for Ms. Cheney in the primary, said, puzzled. (Ms. Cheney is pushing independents and Democrats to re-register as Republicans, as least long enough to vote for her in the primary.)

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For Ms. Cheney, any sense of bafflement about this moment — a Cheney, Republican royalty, being effectively read out of the party — has faded in the year and a half since the Capitol attack.

When she attended the funeral last year for Mike Enzi, the former Wyoming senator, Ms. Cheney welcomed a visiting delegation of G.O.P. senators. As she greeted them one by one, several praised her bravery and told her keep up the fight against Mr. Trump, she recalled.

She did not miss the opportunity to pointedly remind them: They, too, could join her.

“There have been so many moments like that,” she said at the bank, a touch of weariness in her voice.



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