June Newsletter

June Newsletter

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” – Audre Lorde
“Empowerer” Spotlight: Declan Lawson

This month we want to honor our wonderful volunteer Declan Lawson! Declan got involved with us a little over a year ago when he started helping facilitate Youth Forward. Declan joined us at summer camp last July and has continued to be a big part of our work surrounding the empowerment of LGBTQ+ youth and community members. He is a very reflective thinker and leads with kindness and connection. We feel so lucky to work with him! Declan just lead his first official workshop with Empower Montana at the Montana Behavioral Initiative Summer Institute and rocked it! Thank you for all you do Declan!

Youth and Schools 
At the end of May, our youth team had the pleasure of training all of the high school students and educators of Alberton! While there were not as many students as the Missoula High schools, it was clear that this was a tight-knit, compassionate group. Students were engaged and were ready to learn how to make their school an even more inclusive place. We even had several students sign up for camp!! We are so excited to continue our budding relationship with Alberton! 

We also had the wonderful opportunity to work with middle and high school students in the Flathead Valley. Our youth team took a trip up to Whitefish for a half day workshop with forty students and educators from Whitefish, Ronan, and Evergreen schools. This training was a precursor to our first ever Youth Leadership Camp for middle schools in the Flathead valley. All the participants were so engaged and authentic which made for an inspiring and enriching day. We are so excited to continue our work with them at camp in August!

Business and Organization

Just recently, we had another great opportunity to work with the Mansfield center by facilitating a training on cross cultural communication for their summer exchange program.

For our training we met a cohort of educators from around the world. There was a cohort from a number of different African countries, several teachers from the middle east and Asia as well some participants from Eastern and Western Europe. For our two hour training we focused on the Frame of Reference and the Cycle of Oppression.

A major highlight from the training was when we broke into small groups so participants could define their own forms of oppression they commonly see in their schools and communities. The cohort from Africa did a great job educating the group on political oppression in many African countries. They informed the cohort that groups of people that support the opposing political party than the one that is in power are often discriminated against in a number of different ways by the members of the leading political party. Typically this means having to give up most of a communities resource to the supporters of the party in power.

Providing trainings for programs at the Mansfield Center is always a unique educational experience. You have the chance to meet and interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds and you all have the opportunity to witness those universal moments of similarity between cultures while also being educated in creating mutual understanding across cultural, and experiential lines.

Community 
On May 15, we facilitated the Unboxing Gender Teach-in at the Mission Valley Methodist Church sponsored by the Flathead Reservation Human Rights Coalition. The audience was a mix of students, parents, and community members. The students engagement and the adults willingness to listen and learn, made this a special training. A big thank you to FRHRC and all of the participants. It is so empowering to know that we have leaders like you all in Montana’s reservation communities. We hope this training assisted you in creating a positive environment and provided the tools to navigate the pervasive and often limiting construct that is gender.
Upcoming Events

Empower Montana’s High School Youth Leadership Camp! 

IT THAT TIME OF YEAR! EMPOWER MONTANA’S SUMMER CAMP! At our leadership camp you will explore your own personal identities, build friendships across group lines, gain skills to act as an ally to marginalized groups, and gain confidence in diffusing conflict. You will also have a TON of fun because camp is held at Camp Paxson on Seeley Lake! This year camp will be held July 25th, 26th, and 27th.

To Sing up for our registration packet or for more information click this link: https://www.empowermt.org/high-school-camp2018/ If you’ve already received a registration form, please send it back to us as soon as possible to secure your spot!

ADA Community Picnic and Adaptive Recreation Clinic
NEW Book Club!
The YWCA Missoula and EmpowerMT are partnering with Montana Racial Equity Project’s book club. It will meet every third Thursday of the month, from 6-730pm at the YWCA. The first book is “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.  All are welcome to join, contact  Lydia Schildt at  lschildt@ywcaofmissoula.org for more information or questions.
News of Interest

Hundreds In Missoula, Kalispell Protest Immigrant Family SeparationSeveral hundred people rallied in Missoula and Kalispell Wednesday to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating families attempting to enter the country illegally at the southern border.

Though President Trump overturned that policy through an executive order Wednesday afternoon, many in Missoula remained skeptical.

Nereyda Calero is one of the 100 so-called DREAMERS in Montana under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA policy. She spoke at the Missoula rally as an organizer representing Montanans for Immigrant Justice.

“And even though the President signed that executive order today, kids, moms and dads are scarred for life. It doesn’t matter if he signed the order, he already did the damage,” Calero says. (Continue reading here)

Meet Mx Blouse, the Gender-Nonconforming Rapper From South Africa Making Boundless MusicMx Blouse raps, but they prefer to not box their music as hip-hop. Which makes sense. While on their debut EP, Believe The Bloom (2017), they favored boom bap-inspired production with touches of electronic, their latest single “Is’phukuphuku,” fuses kwaito, electro and, of course, hip-hop.

Genre is slowly becoming a thing of the past. And Mx Blouse, just like many artists of their generation—think Stiff Pap, Darkie Fiction, among others—is fusing their influences to make music that reflects their character. (Continue reading here)

Stockholm Bans Sexist Advertisements in Public Spaces

City authorities in Sweden’s capital have voted to ban sexist advertising from public spaces. The decision was voted through by Stockholm’s city council on Monday with near-unanimous agreement from all parties other than the Swedish Democrats, The Local reports, and is expected to come into effect within a month.

Green Party deputy mayor Daniel Helldén has been the architect of the proposals, which have been in motion since December 2017. Helldén had argued then that sexist advertising acted as a “mirror” for society, and that he believed the city had a responsibility to ensure that citizens were not exposed to advertising that was “offensive or upsetting in any way.” (Continue reading here)

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