GREAT FALLS – United Way of Cascade County says that due to the increase in COVID infections in the community, they are postponing the Race, Equality, Equity and Inclusion workshop that was scheduled for January 19 in Great Falls.
They said in a Facebook post“Because the discussion is so important to this workshop, we are looking at dates in February, which is Black History Month, to reschedule. We will post more information as soon as possible.”
(12 JANUARY 2022) Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote prepares to help lead an important conversation. “First and foremost, the fact that it’s featured in Great Falls is very important and I think that says a lot about the community; the fact that we care about racial equality and fairness” , said Old Coyote.
Great Falls workshop will address race, equality, equity and inclusion
She is the Director of Innovation at the Indian Family Health Clinic in Great Falls and will be one of two moderators of the United Way of Cascade County and Great Falls YWCA’s Race, Equality, Equity & Inclusion workshop on January 19.
“For IFHC, we look at a person’s interconnectedness. What that means with equality (is) how is a person’s life affected by transportation, housing, health, all these other things that really impact your life. That’s what we look at when we look at equality and hopefully that will be part of that discussion,” Old Coyote said.
Pastor Marcus Collins of Alexander Temple Church in Christ will be the other moderator. He said: “If we can be brave enough as a community to ask the tough questions, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have all the solutions, but it will start to spark the thinking.”
This isn’t the first time he and his church have had this kind of conversation.
“Right after the George Floyd incident, we held a citywide forum here at the church. Mayor Kelly was there, City Manager Greg Doyon, many city officials, Superintendent of school,” Collins explained. “So there was great interest from people, citizens, all over the city to be part of the conversation then. I’m just excited to see that there’s still interest in the conversation.
For him, the workshop is bittersweet. Sweet because it’s happening, but bitter because of everything that had to happen to get here.
“I think we live in an exciting time where, in the current state of society, we’re ready to challenge ourselves. We’re ready to challenge our old systematic ways of thinking,” Collins said.
“Let’s have all kinds of diversity in this discussion. Let’s bring in all kinds of people and share their ideas and thoughts, because that’s how we’re creating this as a community solution,” Old Coyote said.
As for the next step, Old Coyote said she hopes the workshops and discussions will continue. For Collins, he sees more integrated training as the next step.
When: Wednesday, January 19, 9-11:30 a.m.
Site: Room B101, Great Falls College, 100 16th Avenue South
Registration fees: Goodwill donation of $10 or a can for the YWCA Great Falls Mercy Home
Deadline to register: End of the day, Sunday January 16
For more information, click here to visit the United Way of Cascade County website.