Racial Justice Initiative
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At YWCA Missoula, we are committed to building a more just world. Because of systemic racism, Black, Indigenous and other people of color that we serve in our programs face additional challenges when it comes to finding permanent housing and employment, getting an education, leaving a violent partner, encountering law enforcement, and accessing health care. The Racial Justice Initiative includes community outreach, education and partnerships, as well as internal training, to better address both immediate needs of program participants and the root causes of those needs.


Anti-Racism Audit

In late 2023, YWCA Missoula hired Widerstand Consulting to conduct a comprehensive anti-racism audit of the entire organization. The audit process involved a review of policies, finances, and communications, and focus groups with staff, volunteers, participants, and stakeholders. Acting on audit recommendations, we bolstered the Racial Justice staff position, revitalized the Racial Justice Task Force, and initiated staff training and policy reviews. Incorporating audit insights, our 2024 strategic plan aims for meaningful change and equity across all programs, reinforcing our commitment to eliminating racism at every level of service delivery.

Learn more about the audit process and read a summary of the findings here.

Past Projects

Racial Equity Report
In 2017 we developed the Montana Racial Equity Report to share with individuals and organizations across the state. Our hope is that, while not exhaustive, the quantitative and qualitative data researched and compiled in this report can serve as a useful tool in the development of racial equity programming for multiple organizations, and provide a clear and measurable picture of some of the significant challenges and needs faced by communities and people of color. Download the 2017 Montana Racial Equity Report.

Missoula Voices 
Missoula Voices is a short documentary film created by YWCA Missoula’s Racial Justice Initiative in collaboration with student volunteers from University of Montana School of Media Arts. It features personal narratives of community members who have experienced discrimination in Missoula. It was originally screened at The Roxy Theater on May 3, 2018. Watch the film.

Resources for Further Learning


  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown
  • How to Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Sister Outsider by audre lorde
  • So, You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis


  • 1619: A New York Times Podcast that uses storytelling to explain the history and lasting impacts of slavery on America and American culture.
  • All My Relations: A podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) where they discuss what it means to be an Indigenous person through relationships like those of land, to place, to people, and to non-human relatives.
  • Code Switch: Code Switch is a podcast ready to have fearless conversations about race. This podcast examines race as it intersects with politics, pop culture, history, food, and more.
  • Seeing White: This podcast is designed to examine the idea of “whiteness” and how “whiteness” is used to prop up systemic inequities like education, housing, criminal justice and hiring.
  • Nice White Parents: This podcast looks at racial inequity within the public school system and how the presence of “whiteness” holds power for those who hold that identity.

Videos and Films:

  • 13th directed by Ava DuVernay: This documentary covers the prison-industrial complex and how that intersects with race to form a modern-day version of chattel slavery.
  • Sister Rising directed by Willow O’Feral & Brad Heck: Sisters Rising is the story of six Native women fighting to heal a society crippled for far too long by violence against Indigenous women in the United States.

Additional Community Resources

All Nations Health Center

The All Nations Health Center provides a variety of services for the Missoula American Indian and Alaska Native communities, including diabetes medication management, immunization, testing, health promotion, disease prevention, chemical dependency counseling, mental health care, community services and transportation.

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Native American Student Services (MCPS)

The Native American Student Services Department of Missoula County Public Schools helps Native American students achieve academically, culturally and socially, to graduate and to become successful lifelong learners. Numerous supports are available to students and families, as well as resources and information about the tribes represented by the students of the school district.


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Kyi-Yo Native American Student Association

The Kyi-Yo Association works to bridge the faculty and students of the University of Montana with the communities of Missoula and surrounding areas. Extracurricular and community-building activities help unify and promote the cultural identity of American Indians / Alaska Natives.

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The Montana Racial Equity Project

MTREP works with individuals, groups, organizations, educational institutions and businesses to promote and create opportunities to build equity and justice in Montana.


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EmpowerMT works to create a more just and inclusive society by developing youth and adult leaders who work to end mistreatment, correct systemic inequalities and strengthen communities across Montana. EmpowerMT offers youth identity groups for BIPOC students, youth leadership programs to break isolation and build allies across group lines, and inclusive work trainings for businesses and organizations.

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Montana BIPOC Mutual Aid Fund

A community fund created by BIPOC for BIPOC. Donated funds are redistributed to community members in need. Mutual aid is the exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit—in this case a healthier community. It is a form of financial solidarity with those struggling in our community through direct giving.

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ACLU of Montana

The ACLU of Montana is committed to pursuing racial justice in all parts of society, including in the criminal justice system, in political elections, and in our schools and businesses. Primary efforts are directed toward Native American voting rights, education in Indian Country, and tribal legal issues. 

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Here Montana

Here Montana is a BIPOC outdoors program run through Missoula Parks and Recreation Department. The program works to bridge racial disparity in outdoor recreation and make it more accessible to Missoula’s BIPOC community by providing gear, information and community.

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Open Aid Alliance

Local organization that specializes in harm reduction and testing services. They offer things like HIV, Hepatitis C, and STI testing, syringe services, housing assistance, and healthcare referrals.

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The Center

The Center is an open affirming environment for peoples of all sexual orientation and gender identity expressions. We empower our community through education, advocacy, and collaborative networking. We strive to be Western Montana’s voice for the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

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Montana Black Collective

The premier Black-owned and operated grassroots organization focused on social justice and Black activism in Missoula. Our organization is dedicated to community support, cultural heritage protection, and personal growth development for persons of African ancestry living in Missoula.

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