Diversity Day

Watch the 2021 Virtual Diversity Day Celebration on

April 10th, 2021, from 6 – 7:30 pm Here!

A History:

Empowering youth leadership is central to the mission of EmpowerMT. 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 crucial role in passing the ordinance. This group proposed an annual day of celebration and recognition of all that makes Garden City vibrant and unique. The city officially proclaimed Diversity Day. On the second Saturday of April, hundreds of Missoulians come together to show their commitment to making our city inclusive and welcoming for all.

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 a “Diverse City” theme.

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

This annual celebration is every April and is always a free, family-friendly event.  We hope to see you there!

Youth Lead Now awards:

In 2019, we created the Youth Lead Now Awards to celebrate Youth leadership and activism in Montana. The power of youth leadership is essential in creating positive change. Since 1998, EmpoweMT has seen young leaders transform their schools and communities, including creating Diversity Day! Montana is full of powerful youth-led action that deserves to be celebrated. EmpowerMT and our Youth Advisory Council are always inspired to honor some of these youth leaders at Diversity Day. 

We are always moved by our awardees’ hard work who create ripples of change without expectations of recognition or awards. We also want to recognize all the youth leaders making strides big and small to create a more safe and inclusive future across Montana. 

EmpowerMT’s Youth Advisory Council is looking for youth that regularly works to create positive change within their community, is a supportive role model to others, and elevates voices. They need to be in Montana but can be outside of Missoula, and anyone under the age of 19 is eligible.  Nominations are due by March 7, 2021. 

Please fill out this form to nominate a young person that you believe has contributed to their community. https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/9MX1xraMOniVmD8OO9oNJA

Donations & Sponsorships:

This year marks the 12th year that Missoula has had a community celebration honoring youth leadership and the passing of the nondiscrimination ordinance. Your donation or sponsorship ensures the continued support of EmpowerMT’s youth programs and helps us empower more youth across Montana. Donations and sponsorships also support the important time of community members, youth leaders, and EmpowerMT staff to organize and coordinate the event. If you’re interested in sponsoring Diversity Day, contact our Associate Director of Growth and Development, Kelsie Severson, at kelsie@empowermt.org

Or use our QR Code:

Stories for Change Action Project:

Steps to participate:

For the next six weeks, leading up to Diversity Day,  EmpowerMT is engaging the community in our stories for change action project. In the coming weeks, EmpowerMT’s staff and Youth Advisory Council will be reading diverse stories leading up to the celebration on April 10th at 6 pm! 

Our youth selected this project because stories have the opportunity to inspire us, affirm our identity, and allow us to find friendships in unlikely places. Storytelling is necessary because narratives are an accessible way to share alternative perspectives, life experiences, have the potential to encourage empathy to others, and offer leadership representation for everyone. Stories take many forms; they can be songs, poems, oral myths, short stories, dancing scores, math equations, and so much more. 

So, let’s talk about how you can get involved.

Step 1:Pick a diverse story to share.

  • A diverse story involves characters and authors from various social and ethnic backgrounds. This broad umbrella includes underrepresented populations such as LGBTQ+, BIPOC, spiritual, neuro-diverse, and so much more.
  • You can find a list of resources and diverse stories on our website. www.empowermt.org/community/diversity-day/ 

Step 2: Record yourself reading the story.

  • Make sure to read the title and the author’s name in your recording. 
  • You don’t have to be in the picture; you can just have the camera focus on the book.

Step 3: Post it on your Instagram page, tag us (@Empower_mt #Youthleadnowmt), & credit the author in your description.

We will feature your post on our story! Check back in each week to see our features. Thanks so much for participating, and we will see you at Diversity Day!

Resources to explore:

Here Wee Read,

25 Wonderful Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity,

22 Diverse Book Choices for All Grade Levels,

11 Contemporary Diverse Novels for Middle-Grade Readers,

21 Books That Should Be On Every High School Curriculum,

The Conscious Kid: 

EmpowerMT youth & staff recommendations,


  • Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
  • Red Parka Mary by Peter Eyvindson
  • The Oldest Student by Rita L. Hubbard
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell



This annual celebration is every April and is always a free, family-friendly event.  We hope to see you there!