Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Community members in Missoula hold a banner that reads “BLACK LIVES MATTER NATIVE LIVES MATTER” at an EmpowerMT led Racial Justice Teach-In in 2015.

As protests continue across the world in response to the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, EmpowerMT offers solidarity and support to black people in our community, throughout our state, and across the nation. We see you. We hear you. We mourn with you. We are outraged at the systemic racism, police brutality, and white supremacy that is killing people and threatening the safety and livelihood of others. 

As a white-led organization dedicated to creating a just and inclusive society, we call on other white people to fight for justice, equity, access, and inclusion, and to actively oppose racism. White allies have a critical role in dismantling oppressive systems and we must be tireless in our efforts. EmpowerMT is committed to intensifying intentional and collaborative efforts for anti-racist action and holding ourselves, each other, and our institutions accountable.

We are all searching for ways to act-to challenge the constraints of oppression during a time of division. Each action whether it is: personal growth & education, individual advocacy, volunteerism, financial support, or systemic reform for racial & social justice is a movement toward positive change. We encourage you to learn and grow in your active allyship and dive into EmpowerMT’s leadership skills. We have included more resources to guide you below.

EMPOWERMT skills to interrupt oppression: 

ENGAGE in critical self examination, learning, listening, and building authentic relationships across group lines. 

TRANSFORM institutions through policy change, voting, challenging oppressive practices,norms, and attitudes, give generously to BIPOC-led organizations & racial and social justice organizations.

INTERRUPT prejudice, discrimination, misinformation, disinformation and shift attitudes. 

CULTIVATE RESILIENCE in yourself and others.  

To ensure more people in our community have these skills to interrupt oppression, EmpowerMT is offering 2 hours of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consulting for free to any Montana business, organization, agency, and group to assess internal systems, practices and culture.

We know many people are angry and would like to participate in active protest. If you are white and choosing to protest, please understand that how you choose to act and protest has consequences for black lives. 

  1. Leverage your privilege. In order for social change to occur, we must empower those impacted most to lead. As allies, our responsibility is to support their leadership.  
  2. Listen to and follow the lead of black leaders. 
  3. Hold space for black grief and anger.
  4. DO NOT provoke or engage with counter protesters. This only escalates the anger and exacerbates the division. 

Donate:

Movement for Black Lives: https://m4bl.org/ 

Reclaim the Block (Minneapolis organization that works to end police brutality): https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2

Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate (or donate to another cities bail fund)

Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP): https://www.themtrep.org/how-to-help/donate.html

EmpowerMT: https://www.empowermt.org/donate/

Montana ACLU: https://www.aclumontana.org/en/donate

Listen & Learn:

Websites

Robin DiAngelo, PhD Critical Racial and Social Justice Education  https://robindiangelo.com/resources/

Books

White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin DiAngelo https://www.factandfictionbooks.com/book/9780807047415

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi https://www.factandfictionbooks.com/book/9780525509288

*These titles may be harder to buy online with coronavirus impacting production and shipping.

Podcasts

Pod Save the People. Access for free wherever you get your podcasts (Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher) or online at https://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-the-people/

1619 Podcast. Access for free wherever you get your podcasts (Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher) or online at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/podcasts/1619-podcast.html and check out the larger 1619 Project at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html

Social Media (remember to be intentional in your posting. Too many white posts can silence black voices and overwhelm black social media):

Instagram

#amplifymelanatedvoices

#blacklivesmatter

#robindiangelo

@blackvisioncollective

@themtrep

@ibramxk

@Empower_mt

@mvmnt4blklives

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