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Race in Montana - A Community Forum

  • Bozeman Public Library 626 East Main Street Bozeman, MT, 59715 United States (map)

The Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP) invites you to a free and open forum to explore many of the facets of racial equity and justice in Montana.

Experts and community members will participate as panelists. Following each panel, the audience is encouraged to engage in community dialogue and discuss possible solutions to problematic issues raised. 
We coexist with thousands of different backgrounds, heritages, cultures, and mindsets. Being able to see into the lives of those who are different from us empowers our community to be more inclusive and supportive towards one another. MTREP's Race in Montana Community Forum does just that, by promoting productive conversation and opening individual's minds to the (often harsh) realities of their neighbors and communities.

This Forum is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Montana.

Schedule (subject to change)
8:15am - 8:45am Registration Open - Bozeman Public Library

  • 8:45 - 9am: Greeting/Acknowledgements
  • 9-9:45: 1st panel Sovereign Nations yet Wards of the Government - Panelists: Meg Singer, Indigenous Justice Outreach Coordinator, ACLU-MT; Prof. Franke Wilmer, Political Science Dept. Chair, Montana State University; Moderator, Marci McLean - Pollock, Executive Director, Western Native Voice and Board Member of MTREP
  • 10-10:45: 2nd panel Unpacking Microaggressions - Panelists: Asst. Prof. Anna Elliott, Counseling Department, Montana State University; Kristin Barker, co-founder, White Awake; Moderator, Asst. Prof. Bryce Hughes, Education Dept., Montana State University
  • 11-11:45: 3rd panel Cultural Appropriation - Panelists: Meg Singer, Indigenous Justice Outreach Coordinator, ACLU-MT; Paul S. John, Board Chair of MTREP, Aspen Hougen, Volunteer and Co-Instructor of Dismantling Hatred Workshop (MTREP); Moderator, Prof. Franke Wilmer, Political Science Dept. Chair, Montana State University

11:50 to 12:50pm Lunch on own
12:50pm Doors open/Registration, Bozeman Public Library

  • 1-1:45: 4th panel Racial & Cultural Bias in Marketing & Advertising (incl ableism) - Panelists: LaNada Peppers, Staff Writer at Montana Native News Project, Assoc. Prof. Meta Newhouse, Montana State University School of Art and Founding Director of DSEL (the Design Sandbox of Engaged Learning), Vasu Sojitra, Adaptive Sports Director, Eagle Mount and extreme athlete; Moderator: Judith Heilman, Executive Director of MTREP
  • 2-245: 5th panel White Privilege and White Fragility - Panelists: Kristin Barker, Co-Founder of White Awake; Sara Rushing, PhD, Political Science Dept at Montana State University; Moderator, Prof. Franke Wilmer, Political Science Dept. Chair, Montana State University
  • 3-3:45: 6th panel Sit Down! Guidance for White Activists - Panelists: The Board of The Montana Racial Equity Project; Moderator, Sara Rushing, PhD, Political Science Dept at Montana State University
  • 4pm-4:30pm: 7th panel Stand up! Tips for Racial Justice/ Community Organizing - Panelists: SK Rossi, Advocacy and Policy Director, ACLU-Montana; Sara Howell, Exec. Director, Montana Women Vote; Moderator: Paul S. John, Board President, MTREP
  • 4:30-4:45pm Reflections on the day

4:45pm to 7pm Dinner on own
7pm Doors open at The Hager Auditorium, Museum of the Rockies

  • 7:30-9:00 "The Bumpy Road to a Positive White Identity" followed by a moderated Q & A. - Panelists: Kristin Barker, co-founder, White Awake; Judith Heilman, Exec. Director, The Montana Racial Equity Project; Moderator, Prof. Franke Wilmer, Political Science Dept. Chair, Montana State University.

As our culture confronts our nation’s legacy of racism and the ways it persists, it’s incumbent upon those who identify as white to understand racial dynamics and be open to others’ perspectives. Yet often we feel attacked and blamed, as if others see us as guilty or privileged in ways we aren’t or can’t relate to. 

In this compelling evening, Kristin Barker, co-founder of White Awake (joined by Judith Heilman, Exec Dir of The Montana Racial Equity Project,) will present the common reactions and misgivings that white people have about racial equity and normalize the sometimes painful process of examining what it means for us. 

Our murky, unexplored feelings about being white often create a nervousness and hesitancy to speak and connect across racial lines. Many of us:
• Feel like we’re walking on egg shells, afraid we will say “the wrong thing” 
• Fear that we’ll unintentionally hurt someone and be seen as “racist”
• Feel defensive about what “White Privilege” might mean
• Support “Black Lives Matter” in theory but fear it in practice
• Sense that racial equity means that something is being taken away from “us”
• Feel bad about the legacy of racism, but don’t feel we can do anything about it
• Feel somehow guilty by association for something (our skin) over which we had no control
• Feel like there are emerging double standards and “reverse racism”

Working with these common reactions to the emerging racial dialogue is an important process of growth in understanding, in increasing our ability to address issues of race without shame, anger, undue guilt or defensiveness.

The Library is handicapped accessible, is equipped with bathrooms for all and free wi-fi, and has an on-site coffee shop. The Hager Auditorium is also handicapped accessible.

Earlier Event: August 30
Just Mercy - Montana
Later Event: September 26
MTREP Book Club - September 26, 2017