On February 12th EmpowerMT is launching, in Missoula, a statewide training series to building community and stop hate called “Building Skills for an Inclusive Community.”
Over the past few months, Montana has seen a rise in hateful acts perpetrated by white supremacists. Whitefish, Polson and Missoula have all been in the national spotlight due to acts of racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of oppression.
“Hate and prejudice have been an unfortunate reality in communities across our state and our nation for a long time,” says EmpowerMT Executive Director Heidi Wallace. “However, with the tone set in this past year's election cycle these acts have become more virulent and many Montanans are scared for our communities.”
EmpowerMT, which has been working for nearly two decades to end bigotry of all kinds, is poised to address these concerns. Working with local community organizations across the state EmpowerMT seeks to bring their “Building Skills for an Inclusive Community” training to as many Montanans as possible. These partners include Missoula Rises, Missoula Lotus, United Way of Lewis and Clark Area, Love Lives Here - Flathead Valley and the Montana Racial Equity Project.
EmpowerMT will be offering two versions of the training. A 3-hour training that will be held in Missoula, Helena and Kalispell and a 6-hour training in Bozeman and Billings that is being done in partnership with the Montana Racial Equity Project based in Bozeman.
These trainings will teach participants skills to identify their own cultural lenses, and the lenses of others. Participants will also build a shared language and foundation of understanding about oppression and its impact on fellow community members. Lastly, participants will learn specific skill for interrupting oppression when they see it in their community.
The first training in the series will be on Sunday, February 12th from 2pm to 5pm at Har Shalom (3035 S. Russell). These will be followed by trainings in Helena (February 21st), Bozeman (February 25th), Billings (March 25th) and Kalispell (April 1st). More details and registration can be found at www.empowermt.org/buildinginclusivecommunity.