Community

How We Impact the Community

EmpowerMT believes that each of us plays an individual role in creating a community that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive of all people. We work to strengthen communities throughout the entire state of Montana by empowering marginalized groups, teaching allyship skills, and increasing communication and understanding across group lines. Each year, we partner with several agencies to provide community events and trainings locally, regionally and statewide.

Our community work includes collaborating with businesses and groups for our two, annual, signature celebrations: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Diversity Day. We are proud to sponsor two events that engage hundreds of people each year in civil dialogue and action.
EmpowerMT also helps facilitate community conversations around divisive issues. Examples include leading a three-month process involving more than 200 people in the controversial issue of siting a new location for the city’s emergency homeless shelter, and facilitating the UMatter forum on Sexual Assault for The University of Montana.

Would you like to host a workshop or partner with us for a community event? Do you need support facilitating a community conversation? Contact us at info@empowermt.org to discuss collaboration and partnership opportunities.

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY CELEBRATION

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains a central figure in our nation’s ongoing dialogue on race and equality. Decades after the Civil Rights Movement, we still struggle to discuss and respond to racism, homophobia, economic injustice and other forms of oppression. EmpowerMT proudly co-sponsors the Missoula MLK Jr. Day Community Celebration by engaging community members in dialogue and calling people to action to help create a more just and inclusive society. Each January, this celebration seeks to help commemorate the message of Dr. King and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by examining civil rights issues both locally and nationally and ways to continue advancing justice forward.

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EmpowerMT’s highlighted role is having the honor of coordinating the MLK Youth Art and Essay Contest in which youth in Western Montana, preschool-12th grade, may submit a 2-dimensional piece of artwork or writing in response to that year’s quote. Submissions are judged and winners are awarded at the MLK Jr. Day Celebration. Our agency also plans the Youth Rally at Caras Park, followed by a march for justice to the celebration at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

This annual celebration is held every January on MLK Jr. Day. Please check back on our calendar for details each year. If your group is interested in becoming a community partner or if you are interested in volunteering for the event please contact us at info@empowermt.org.

 

DIVERSITY DAY CELEBRATION

Empowering youth leadership is central to the mission of NCBI Missoula. On April 12, 2010, Missoula’s city council passed a non-discrimination ordinance protecting community members from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. EPIC, EmpowerMT’s afterschool leadership development program for 4th-8th grade students, played a key role in the passing of the ordinance. This group proposed an annual day of celebration and recognition of all that makes the Garden City vibrant and unique. Diversity Day was officially proclaimed and each April hundreds of Missoulians come together to show their commitment to making our city inclusive and welcoming for all.

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Diversity Day offers a unique experience for local young people to get involved and have a voice in every facet of the event – visioning, planning, coordinating and performing. Each year features an eclectic mix of youth talent and performances ranging from song, dance, video, spoken word and a headliner; all around the theme of a “Diverse City”. This annual celebration is every April and is always a free, family-friendly event. Please check back on our calendar for details each year. We hope to see you there!

To nominate youth performers, please email our Youth Programs staff at youth@empowermt.org.

 

COMMUNITY FACILITATION & TRAININGS

EmpowerMT is proud to have played a central role in facilitating community dialogue around controversial issues as well as providing trainings to the wider community on issues of equality and justice.

When Missoula’s emergency homeless shelter, the Poverello Center, needed to relocate EmpowerMT facilitated a three-month long processes that involved 200 people to identify key concerns, think creatively about collaborative solutions and create community buy-in. After the sexual assault crisis came to light on the University of Montana campus, EmpowerMT was invited to facilitate the UMatter Forum that provided space for people to tell their stories, discuss sexual assault, consent and how the campus community could move forward. EmpowerMT has also worked with the leaders of Soft Landings and other community leaders to advise on having productive conversations around the reopening of a Missoula refugee resettlement office.

Additionally, EmpowerMT provides periodic training opportunities for community members including one-day introductory workshops that give participants basic skills, concepts and exercises to develop awareness and goals on interrupting bias and systems of oppression. Through our long-standing partnerships with many other organizations, we also coordinate several racial justice educational events and workshop series that engage white-identified allies and people of color in developing empowerment skills in the struggle for racial equity.

If you would like to attend a future community event or workshop, subscribe to our newsletter or check back for future opportunities. If there is a community-wide issue you think we can help with, please contact us at info@empowermt.org.

 

Recent Posts About EmpowerMT’s Community Work

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NCBI and YWCA Host Anti-racism Series

This March, NCBI partnered with the YWCA Missoula to put on a three-part anti-racism training series called True Colors. The True Colors training was created in an effort to address the unique challenges faced by people of color, as well as white allies taking action against racism. The True Colors training was inspired by the […]

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Blooming Into Spring

  This year’s TTT was divided into two main sections: our Building Bridges workshop and our Controversial Issues process. The Building Bridges workshop is tailored for youth, businesses, and organizations and is the most familiar of our offerings. No two workshops are the same, however, and going through the Building Bridges workshop with this group […]

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Speaking Out About Things That Matter

The 2016 Missoula Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration theme was based off of Dr. King’s quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Throughout the whole day youth and adults from Missoula, as well as across Montana, spoke out about issues that matter to our community. The […]

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