RHI Profile of the Week: MT Racial Equity Project

The Montana Racial Equity Project, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, advocates equity and justice for historically marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed peoples in Montana. They educate, train, and activate organizers, individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, and businesses to invest in interrupting racism, bigotry, and prejudice whenever encountered.

At the Montana Racial Equity Project, they believe that earnest dialogue and active listening are key to challenging our assumptions and understanding those who are different from ourselves. They have learned that once a discussion on race begins, participants open up to consider the intersectionality of all our differences, whether grounded in gender, sexual orientation or expression, religion, income and education levels, etc. To that end, The Montana Racial Equity Project hosts many trainings as well as discussions in Montana to support dialogue and active listening. For example, the Montana Racial Equity Project has a book club that is open to anyone. Each month they select a book that focuses on racial justice, allyship, and historically marginalized and oppressed peoples (HMDOs)* to better educate ourselves in the fight towards justice. Previous books have included “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo, “Stamped From the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi, “White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race” by Robin DiAngelo, “There There” by Tommy Orange, and so forth. On the fourth Tuesday of every month, they have the wonderful opportunity to come together as a group in Bozeman or Missoula to have fruitful conversations about the book selected. This is the time where everyone can collectively reflect about what they read, learned, ask any questions, and/or work through any areas of confusion.

A sampling of their racial equity and justice projects in Montana include classroom dialogues (from elementary to graduate school), community forums and events, community organizing, co-sponsorship of events, workshops, and issues, educational presentations, speaking engagements, training on implicit and explicit bias, consulting with law enforcement organizations, workshops, and more!

The Montana Racial Equity Project is presenting its fourth annual conference, “Race, Equity, and Justice,” from October 26-27, 2019 in Bozeman. The conference features a keynote from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a New York Times best-selling author, National Book Award winner, and the Professor and Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. This year, their annual conference will examine the troika of oppression – race, equity, and justice – in Montana. They’ll take a look at its history and current-day effects on individuals, systems, the environment, and policy and practice.  An essential part of the conference will be how individuals and organizations can advance and effect positive transformational change – activating anti-racists. This conference has value for everyone, particularly for racial justice and equity activists and environmental activists living and working in the Intermountain West. Sessions will include The History of Racist Ideas in America and Antiracism; the History of Racism in Montana, its current day effects and manifestations; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; and Environmental Justice. for more information or to sign up for the conference, visit their website here.