February Newsletter

February Newsletter

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” -Ani DiFranco
“Empowerer” Spotlight: Carla Mettling! 

This month’s spotlight goes out to our dear friend Carla Mettling! Carla was first introduced to Empower Montana when she attended our annual fundraising luncheon. She was very impressed with our work and moved by the speech of our keynote youth leader that year. After that Carla was inspired to attend our Advanced Leadership Training. We always feel lucky when Carla dedicates her time with us whether it be hosting tables at our luncheon, helping with trainings, or attending our meetings with special topics and leadership advancement. One favorite memory of Carla’s was hearing the stories of homeless youth in Missoula at the sleep-out at Holy Spirit, and seeing the documentary Homestretch, about homelessness in Chicago that showed that night. Another is getting to see the documentary 13th with us, which prompted her to create a new documentary series that ran last summer through the Holy Spirit Church, entitled “Meaningful Movies.” As Carla moves forward with us she’d love to continue leading trainings and create partnerships with Empower Montana and the anti-poverty lobbying group she is a part of. We’re looking forward to it! Thanks Carla!!
This January marked another year of coming together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. While the winter months can often wear on us, the energy exuded on this day from the youth leaders, marchers, speakers, performers, and crowd is enough to get us through to lighter days. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s celebration.
Mayor Wilmot Collins’ powerful keynote address sharing his story of coming to Montana as a refugee from Liberia.
The important and moving speaches from three amazing young women, Sydnie Sinclair, Mesheyla Cox, and Nereyda Calero.
A Salish blessing from Arleen Adams and Shelly Fyant and a Salish perspective on the history of Missoula Valley and the importance of Dr. King.
The inspiring Youth Art and Essay winners reminding us of the importance of art in social justice movements.
The sweet songs from the Lewis and Clark Peace Choir.
The cool and comforting stage presence from Emcee Jason and performer Andre Floyd.
The enormous crowd that filled Saint Paul’s Church- we might have to find a bigger space next year!
Upcoming Events
True Colors 2018
Empower Montana and YWCA Missoula are returning in 2018 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.
Focusing on topics such as trauma, intersectionality and identity development, the trainings create a safe and comfortable space for participants to explore, discuss, and challenge ideas. Participants will come away with skills and strategies that can strengthen the relationships within their cultural communities and across cultural lines. Empower Montana and YWCA Missoula seek allies and people of color who have witnessed and experienced racism, and seek to both better understand and work toward racial justice.
All trainings will take place Tuesday evenings, February 20 to March 20 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. To read more or register go to our webpage.
Pi Day Queer Comedy Benifit
It’s 3.14, and we all know what that means! This Pi Day, Missoula’s HomeGrown Comedy and Big Sky Pride are teaming up for a knee-slapper of a show featuring the best and brightest Montana stand-up comedians from across the LGBTQ spectrum. In honor of a stupid math joke, we’ll be raffling off delicious, homemade pies.
All funds raised at this benefit go to support EmpowerMT’s Youth Forward and Be You Crew which support LGBTQ Youth in Missoula. (For more info, check out the Facebook event)
Diversity Day 2018!
Mark your calendars for April 14th to celebrate the 9th annual Diversity Day Celebration. This year we will be showcasing community action projects from our youth at EPIC after school club as well as a reading of writings (journal entries, poetry, etc.) from our younger selves. Look out for more information soon !
News of Interest

On Trayvon Martin’s birthday, we remember his life and why we fight for black livesFebruary 5th marks five years and 339 days since Trayvon Martin’s memorial service; it would also be his 23rd birthday.

The day is necessarily somber. Nearly six years ago, Trayvon’s death at the hands of white supremacist vigilante violence indicated the beginning of an escalating attack on Black lives and demanded that this nation confront its overtly racist past and present. The urgency of #Justice4TrayvonMartin turned into a global urgency to fight for Black lives — one which persists today.

What we acknowledged as a nation during the one-and-a-half year trial of George Zimmerman is that the white majority’s public imagination of Black people was based on their fear of us, not the reality of who we are.

John Howard Society looking to open Regina’s first transition house for at-risk LGBTQ2S youth

The Regina branch of the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan has applied for federal government funding to open Regina’s first transitional house for at-risk youth who identify as LGBTQ2S — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit.

Lorne Gill is a case worker with the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan in the supported living program.

He says Regina needs a place that can provide support and resources catered for youth who identify as LGBTQ2 who are homeless or experiencing violence. (Continue reading here)
Helping Teachers Create More Inclusive Classrooms

Fatima scores A+ in all the class tests and is bored at school. Joseph has dyslexia. Jane uses crutches to move around. Mohammed cannot see very well. Sara excels in mathematics but struggles with spelling. Boris can’t sit still for more than 20 minutes. And Mina has autism.

What do they all have in common? They are all learners, and all have the same right to a high-quality education.

Many schools and classrooms around the world—from preschools all the way to colleges and universities—still need to be more inclusive. They need to ensure that every child feels welcomed, supported, and safe. This is much easier said than done, I know. (Continue reading here)

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