How to Respond to White Supremacist Activity in Montana
Montana is a place of rugged beauty, hardworking people, and friendly communities. Unfortunately, Montana has also been targeted by a series of right-wing extremists like white nationalists, militia groups, and others. These right-wing extremists are small in number, but they enjoy provoking fear in communities with literature drops, graffiti, vandalism, discrimination, or aggressive comments in social media. These acts often put extremists in the media spotlight and create the perception that they are ready to attack at any time.
The Montana Human Rights Network has a lot of experience responding to these dangerous strategies and the fear they create in communities. Please help us protect the communities who are being attacked by taking these steps when you encounter white supremacist literature or messaging.
1. Please contact MHRN first using Facebook messenger or our reporting form. The best way to minimize the damage from these incidents is to have a coordinated response. Going to the media first can whip up a lot of anxiety (and gossip) but doesn’t offer a solution. When MHRN gets a report first, we can provide wraparound support for the entire community.
* We shield targeted groups from more negative attention or trolls.
* We gather key leaders from the groups who are being attacked and others in the community to renounce this sort of domestic terrorism with a united message.
* We provide context in the media for these attacks that reduces the power of the harm done and educates the community about the agenda they’re dealing with.
2. Document the incident. Please take photos of the materials in their original location and save any items you found. Having documentation helps us track individuals and groups who may be committing these acts.
3. Fill out MHRN’s reporting form. We collect details on hate incidents like these across Montana. Our online form can be found here: https://mhrn.org/reportingform.
4. Bring the community together. Extremists create these incidents to try to radicalize others to join them. MHRN has found that organizing a positive community gathering is very effective, because it pushes back against the idea that any group can be singled out as “other.” These events, like a vigil, block party, rally, or even a neighborhood potluck, broadcast the idea that everyone has the right to feel safe as they live, love, work, and play in Montana. MHRN is happy to help organize an event like this if needed.
For more ideas about you and your community can respond to white nationalism, please see our Rapid Response Infographic here: https://mhrn.org/publications/fact%20sheets%20and%20adivsories/HateIncidentRapid-ResponseGuide.pdf
The Montana Human Rights Network organizes Montana residents to realize their power to challenge discrimination and support justice and equality in their communities. Community – Equality – Justice.