Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Ending Racism workshop scheduled in Havre


A workshop on ending racism is scheduled for Havre June 22.

Humanities Montana awarded a $1,000 grant to the Montana State University Extension Service to fund the workshop lead by the Montana Racial Equity Project.

The workshop will focus on terminology, history of marginalized peoples in Montana, and education on microagressions and cultural exploitation.

The Ending Racism Workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Great Northern Inn in Havre.

The Montana Racial Equity Project is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that 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, a release from Humanities Montana said. The workshop will focus on terminology, history of marginalized peoples in Montana and education on microaggressions and cultural exploitation.

Racism in Havre has been in the news in the past few years with a complaint filed after Montana State University-Northern’s student government painting over a step on its Hello Walk in 2016.

Northern’s Sweetgrass Society had painted the hashtag “#NODAPL,” referring to protests by the Standing Rock Sioux and allied organizations over plans to run a pipeline from North Dakota through South Dakota, on the step.

People protesting the pipeline said it threatened sacred burial sites and water quality.

The university student government said the steps were intended to promote clubs, not political or social issues, and it did not know what organization had painted the hashtag on the step.

After several meetings, the club was allowed to repaint the hashtag on the step.

Sweetgrass Society filed a complaint against Northern alleging the university violated the club’s free speech by painting over the step.

The club and the the university settled the complaint in 2018 in an agreement that included creating a school-wide diversity training program, improving communications, improvements to recruiting and retaining Native American employees and creating an American Indian advisory committee.

Northern again made headlines when a student complained in 2018 that the student heard racial threats in a classroom. The issue made statewide news, with people saying racism was widespread on the campus and the university administration did not take proper steps to censure the student who made the comments and did little to hold discussions about or to publicize actions on the issue and to resolve the tensions.

Havre also made news this year when a Border Patrol agent detained two American citizens he heard speaking Spanish while they waited in line at a convenience store.

The two women, Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, filed a lawsuit against Agent Paul O’Neal and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan which is pending in federal District Court in Great Falls.

Humanities Montana said the workshop will help people understand how to prevent and how to react to issues like those.

“The MT REP workshop is a one-of-a-kind setting to invite participants to learn about racism and get the tools on how to stop it if they encounter it,” Humanities Montana Communications Director and Executive Assistant Brooke Beighle said in an email to Havre Daily News. “This workshop will benefit the community of Havre and also MSU-N students of color as it can build a foundation of education. MSU-N students are a part of the Havre community and they should feel comfortable when they involve themselves in the activities and events in Havre without fear of facing racism.”


Reader Comments

Kerry McCollough writes:

Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I'm surprised to be first. The reported departure from Havre of the two women who spoke Spanish saddened and embarrassed me. I lived in Havre when small (1960-1965), Dad taught at the HS, Mom belonged to the League of Women Voters. I'm 6th generation Montanan. Perhaps I'm foolish but at this point, I've lived in eight states and observed a few things, so I guess I'm just disappointed in the outcome. Thought better of Havre than this. Hope it gets better. Thanks


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