New Year, New Intentions

New Year, New Intentions

     Most people agree this past year has been a rough one through to the end. While it may be hard to tap into the usual optimism that accompanies a turning of the new year, we are hoping to help you find some hope for 2017!

     Let’s start by discussing the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”, that ultimatum that comes from the “id” of your psyche telling you it’s now or never, all or nothing. New year’s resolutions usually stem from some sort of feeling of guilt or shortcomings and if they are not kept, you have failed. This New Year we want you to ditch this cycle of negativity and chose a “New Year’s Intention.” An intention is an aim or a plan and in medicine is the healing process of a wound. Intentions come from a place of self love, healing, and hope. They are not intended as an ultimatum (do or die) and any work towards that intention in the new year is a success.

     Despite the unknowns of the year to come, one thing we can all control is our intention to learn from, and support ourselves and others. Instead of the usual resolutions of losing weight, saving our money better, organizing those stacks of papers, or cutting sugar out of our lives, how about we take the focus off of ourselves, and base intentions on our interactions with others.

You might set an intention to smile at strangers more, attend more community events, or interrupt discrimination more when you see it. Perhaps you want to meet some new people in the community, learn about a new culture, or learn how to be a better ally to a certain group. We are so self critical without a new year’s resolution hanging over our heads, so let’s put down the mirror and look around us in the coming year. If we all set these types of positive intentions, hopefully we will find more support, friendship, and motivation in 2017.

Below we have provided some articles to help you brainstorm some ideas for your own New Year’s Intentions and personal growth when it comes to being a social justice advocate. Enjoy!
Empower Montana’s Intentions for 2017!
Youth and Schools
Continue reaching out to rural and reservation schools.
Host more advanced leadership development workshops with our high school trainers.
Put on an awesome Diversity Day celebration with LOTS of youth!
Protect current safe spaces and work to create more for LGBTQ+ youth in our state.Businesses and OrganizationsProvide more trainings with state agencies.
Offer special opportunities for growth in fostering gender equality in the workplace.
Collaborate with other organizations in our efforts to build a safer and more inclusive space.Community

Provide a series of community-based workshops focused on building inclusive communities across the state (we already have plans for Whitefish, Helena, and Missoula!).
Provide opportunities to learn how to be better allies to marginalized groups.
Facilitate programs based in developing self pride and self care practices.

Farewell to our amazing friend, ally, and superhero Kim!

This month we have been slowly (because we can’t rip the band-aid off too fast!) saying goodbye to our beloved Kim Spurzem as a staff member. We love her so so much and appreciate all she has done for our mission of empowering Montana! We put together a little video to commemorate her time working with us. Hope you enjoy. We love you Kim!


We tried to fit all  of our volunteers and donors from the year in a word cloud and there were SO many! We appreciate all of your contributions to making 2016 another successful year for Empower Montana! Thank you and cheers to another year!
Upcoming Events
2017 MLK Community Celebration

Please join us for this annual event to honor the work and legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and address the work that remains unfinished. (See the Facebook event here)

5 pm – Youth Rally at Caras Park
5:30 pm – March for Justice from Caras Park to St. Paul’s
6 pm – Community Celebration at St. Paul Lutheran Church featuring music, keynote by Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Nation, and presentation of awards for the art & essay contest
7:30 – Dinner Social in lower level of church ($5-$10 suggested donation)

True Colors Community Training Series

Empower Montana and YWCA Missoula are returning in 2017 with the True Colors Training, a series of workshops 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 invites community members to rethink race, history, and community.All trainings will take place Wednesday evenings, February 15 to March 15 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Payne Family Native American Center. Room locations will be announced in February. To register, visit our website.

Building Skills for an Inclusive Community

Over the next couple of months, EmpowerMT is partnering with local community organizations across the state to bring our “Building Skills for an Inclusive Community” training to as many Montanans as possible.

The three hour training will teach: skills to identify our own cultural lenses, and the cultural lenses of others, how to build a shared language and foundation of understanding about oppression and its impact on fellow community members, and skills for interrupting oppression when we see it in our communities.

Currently trainings are scheduled in the following locations:

Missoula – Sunday February 12th from 2pm to 5pm Har Shalom 3035 S. Russell St. Missoula, MT

Helena – Monday February 20th from 2pm to 5pm (tentative) Location TBD

Whitefish / Kalispell (Date, Time & Location TBD)

In the News

EmpowerMT is hiring! Grant Writer Position

EmpowerMT seeks an experienced grant writer to support their foundation based fundraising work that funds our mission to create a more just and inclusive society.  This is a temporary part-time position, averaging 10-15 hours a week depending on the projects, that will run from January 15th to June 30th, 2017.
Please submit a resume, list of professional references, a grant writing sample and a brief cover letter that includes your experience and skills and a synopsis of why anti-oppression work is important to you to Please call Jesse Jaeger at 406-541-6891 with questions. (Read more here)
‘Love Not Hate’ Community Event Planned in Whitefish

A pair of friends upset with the negative attention a white-nationalist leader and an anti-Semitic blog have brought their hometown are responding with a free community block party and concert on Saturday, Jan. 7.

The event, Love not Hate, will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is tentatively scheduled to take place on Central Avenue in downtown Whitefish between Depot Park and the O’Shaughnessy Center. Final permits had not yet been approved as of Tuesday afternoon. (Read more here)
Can We Just, Like, Get Over The Way Women Talk? 

Like, have you ever noticed that women apologize too much? Sorry, but just humor me for a second here. What if, um, how we’re speaking is actually part of what’s undermining us in the workplace, in politics, and anywhere in the public sphere where we want to be taken seriously? I think it could be time for us all to assess how we’re talking. Does that make sense to you, too?

It makes sense to tech-industry veteran Ellen Leanse, who explains that women overuse the word just, which sends “a subtle message of subordination.” Essayist Sloane Crosley and comedian Amy Schumer tell us not to say “sorry” so often. A career coach warns the readers of Goop that women use too many qualifiers (“I’m no expert, but …”), which undermine their opinions. (Read more here)

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