Please see the below statement from Kiersten Iwai, Executive Director and Amara Reese-Hansell, Program Director:
As an organization that fiercely believes in a just and equitable world where all Montanans can thrive, we’re disappointed in this week’s statewide election results. We’re grappling with the fact that our generation is now represented by Montana politicians who dismiss COVID-19, reject climate science, and oppose the protections our organization, and many others, have fought for for decades.
Words alone cannot adequately describe the pain and grief that we’re feeling. And we know we’re not alone. If you’re feeling confused or scared about what this means for our state, please know it’s normal and we’re right here with you. And to our young queer, trans, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) friends, we see you and acknowledge the pain and distrust you may be feeling.
So how do we move forward in the face of adversity? At Forward Montana, we’re taking care of ourselves. We’re giving ourselves the time to grieve and sit with our pain. The progressive movement needs us more than ever and we can’t move forward unless we’ve replenished our souls.
And then we’ll do what we do best: organize. Social change doesn’t stop with voting, we know that. Change is made everyday in our communities when we show up to a city commission meeting, write a letter to the editor, or engage with our family over uncomfortable topics. Each and every one of us are an activist and voting is just one tool of many in our toolbox. We’re committed to doubling down, leaning in, and using creative tactics to make sure your voices are heard throughout all of our democratic processes, every step of the way. No matter what.
For those of you who are looking to engage, need to vent and voice your frustrations, or just have an issue or topic you’d like to engage around, we encourage you (if you feel comfortable) to fill out this form. As we build out our plans for the next several months, we want all of our members to have opportunities to weigh in.
This chance is one of many. You’ll also hear from someone on our team who’ll be reaching to check in and see how you’re holding up. We are in this together.
We see you. We hear you. And we’re not going away.
Kiersten and Amara