MTPR

Love Lives Here

Whitefish's community vigil for victims of the Charlottesville, VA, protests drew a large crowd for speeches, prayers and singing.
Nicky Ouellet

There have been many silent moments in Montana this week.

One in Whitefish Tuesday night was held in honor of people who died and were injured while counter-protesting a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday.

One of the paper menorahs Love Lives Here is distributing in Whitefish this Hanukkah
Nicky Ouellet

A few days before the start of Hanukkah, a small group gathered on a street corner in downtown Whitefish, holding stacks of paper menorahs. Joan Vetter Ehrenberg, a volunteer for Love Lives Here, a branch of the Montana Human Rights Network, reads an explanation from the back of the menorah:

"Obviously in response to the anti-semitic targeting of our local friends and neighbors in Whitefish, Love Lives Here invites everyone in the valley to hang a menorah in the window ..."

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election last Tuesday, there are numerous reports on the internet of an uptick in election-fueled harassment and intimidation. But's not just the internet, nor just outside of Montana.

Human rights organizations, local police departments and schools here are reporting, or checking out reports, that include pamphlet drops touting Nazi Party ideology, anonymous graffiti bashing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and Facebook posts loaded with vitriol and name-calling.

It’s Saturday night. I’m at the Unitarian church in Kalispell with 30 people, and they’re here to talk about racial tolerance in the Flathead Valley. It’s a hard conversation to have, it’s uncomfortable, but most of the people in this room, like Jennifer Stebbins-Han, think it’s important.

"A Town on Fire" screening and panel discussion Friday, June 3, in Helena.
Courtesy MHRN

Hate groups. Anti-government radicals. White supremacists. These are taglines for a new documentary film featuring the cultural climate of the Flathead Valley.

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