In this episode, Amelia travels across Montana and speaks with state senator Diane Sands and Montana Racial Equity project (MTREP) volunteer Aspen Hougan about the history of feminist activism in Montana and the work that still needs to be done.
In this episode, we hear from Diane Sands, a current senator in the Montana senate who has a long history of feminist activism in the state. She discusses the progressive history that has made Montana one of the more radical Mid/Mountain-west states and the work she’s done to keep it that way. Amelia also speaks with Aspen Hougan, a volunteer for the Montana Racial Equity Project, about the reality of racial injustice in Montana and building racial literacy in the state.
- “You’ve just got to learn to stretch your eyes.” [5:00]
- Generalist feminism + making it up in the Midwest [11:35 – 14:45]
- Dismantling Hatred workshop [22:50 – 25:30]
- Support Fifty Feminist States or buy a t-shirt!
- MTREP Projects
- YWCA 2017 Montana Racial Equity Report
- More on Diane Sands + her reelection campaign
- Montana Feminist Oral History
- “Using Oral History to Chart the Course of Illegal Abortions in Montana”
Diane Sands on Facebook.
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Amelia: This is Fifty Feminist States a roadtripping, storytelling podcast visiting all fifty US states to interview feminist activists and artists about their work for gender justice.
I’m Amelia Hruby, and this week we’re in Montana.
Diane Sands: I mean Mr Big Leggins who lived next door to us at one point said, “you’ve just got to learn to stretch your eyes,” and I love that, you know, the way you, the way you see things, the way you look at things is really shaped by the environment you grow up in. And for me that places is the prairies and it’s Montana and it’s Indian country, because all of this country, in my view, is still Indian country.
Amelia: Hi everyone, Amelia here, your tour-guide, host, wanderer, listener guiding us on this Fifty Feminist States journey. I am so thankful for all of you who have listened to the first episodes of season one of Fifty Feminist States, and I wanted to let know you that I’m actually back out on the road doing interview for season two. Over 100 amazing Kickstarter backers helped fund season one, but I could use more listener support to help cover expenses as I’m traveling and producing for season two, so if you have anything to share, you can do that at fiftyfeministstates.com/support. I also have some kickass t-shirts and totebags available. You can find those at fiftyfeministstates.com/shop and those purchases help me stay on the road and keep doing this work as well. Thank you so much for listening. This week, we are in Montana, and we’re gonna get back on the road!
When I was in elementary school, we had to do a project where every student was assigned a state and had to make an elaborate profile about it and present it to the whole class. My state was Montana, and I dutifully looked it up in an encyclopedia, searched for it online, and even sent away for a map and brochures from the Montana state tourism board. I’d mostly forgotten this until a few years ago when I first drove across Montana and had a eerie feeling that it was all so familiar.
I don’t think the familiarity came just from the fact that I’d done this elementary school state project ages ago. There’s something about the way that Montana mixes a midwestern character with progressive commitments that reminds me of how I came to my feminism and progressive politics.
But enough about me, Montana is the fourth largest state in the US, but it is 44th in population and 48th in gross state product. You likely know it as Big Sky Country, and it’s home to twelve tribal nations whose people make up 6.5% of Montana’s population.
In fact, Montana is the only state with a constitutional mandate that recognizes American Indian heritage in the state and commits the state to preserving the cultural integrity of indigenous communities. These communities have had to fight for this over time, but this commitment does show up in many places from mandated educational programming to highway signage in English and indigenous languages.
This episode we’ll hear from two folks in Montana working toward respect for racial and cultural integrity among other feminist causes in the state. In these conversations we’ll tackle two important aspects of contemporary feminism that we haven’t talked in previous episode: the first is intergenerational feminist politics, we’ll hear from a Montana state senator who has been a progressive activist for more than five decades. The second is race and we’ll hear from a volunteer from the Montana racial equity project about what it means to do work surrounding racial justice in a state that is perceived — incorrectly — as all white.
We’ll open by talking to that state senator. Her name is Diane Sands, and she is a current Montana state senator with a long history in Montana’s progressive politics stretching back to the strong second-wave feminist movement in Missoula in the sixties. She’s a jill-of-all-trades who has served four terms in the House, helped preserve historic monuments in the state, and been the director of both the Montana Women’s Lobby and Missoula’s Partnership Health Center. It’s also important to note that when she was elected to her first of four terms in the Montana’s House of Representatives, she was the state’s first openly gay legislator.
I learned so much about Montana from Senator Sands, and I want to share her story and her knowledge of the state with all of you. Here’s her telling us about growing up in Montana.
Diane: So I’m Diane Sands. I grew up in Montana, as I said born and raised and for many generations on both, both sides of my family. And so I do view myself as a westerner with a different point of view than many people on the coasts have and also as a prairie person and as a reservation person. My parents and my grandparents on both sides. My Dad’s side were homesteaders coming into the prairies of eastern Montana. German homesteaders, and my mother’s side had been here for several generations more in the Bozeman, in Butte area. And they were, she was a political activist. My grandmother on that side and even had a college education back in the 1880, my great grandmother. So I view myself as having grown up with a tremendous amount of privilege, coming from families that were mostly functional and educated and not much money. Both of them were teachers in small school systems, and I know my dad borrowed money from his sister to make sure we all got fed, et cetera. But, uh, in spite of all that, the opportunity to grow up as a white person on an American Indian reservation, which is not that uncommon for people out there who don’t know anything about reservations. But it did change the focus of my life. First of all. I think the experience of growing up on the land, in my view, the land makes you. I mean, I’m as much a creature of this land is the deer are. And in perspective, I mean Mr Big Leggins who lived next door to us at one point said, “you’ve just got to learn to stretch your eyes,” which I love that, you know, the way you, the way you see things, the way you look at things is really shaped by the environment you grow up in. I think that’s true whether you’re in a city or whether you’re in the country or where you grow up, you do see things differently based on that, uh, that place. And for me that place is the prairies, and it’s Montana and it’s Indian country because all of this country, in my view was still Indian country. People’s stories here and their priorities are also based on the land we grew up in. Growing up on the reservation as one of the white kids in the area. Most all the others were ranching families that owned Indian land and had different versions of conflicts there than we did is basically just teachers living there and then moving on. But my family is teachers. I have, there’s five of us kids and my sisters who were twins, their friends all came and hung out at our house all the time. So they came over and played cards and did this, that, and the other thing. White kids, Indian kids. Well, that really wasn’t done in Fraser at all. In fact, um, one of our neighbors who was a white woman, said, “you know, they’re just a couple of families of Indian levers in town and you’re one of them.” You know, growing up, really watching racism in action every day, but also that there are other ways that other people look at things. The way Native Americans look at family is very different. You know, the family is more important. Kids don’t belong to you is to parents, they belong to the community, everybody has a responsibility for them economically and physically and other kinds of things and just the spiritual nature of life is quite different in Indian country, and I’m honored to have been around that for much of my life. And I carry that through in a lot of ways from my legislative work and other work as well. So, for example, the renaming of 80 some sites in the state that had the word “squaw” in it, which is sexist, racist, and pornographic, all in one word. It took about 10 years of a committee of our work, but we’ve got that done, got a couple other states to do it as well. So I’ll never pay back the legacy in debt that I owe Indian country for my life as the way it is. But it’s been very important to me.
Amelia: In 1965, Diane went to college in Missoula and her involvement in a number of causes and activist movements began. Hear about that time in her own words.
Diane: Well, I started in the sixties, like so many people my age. I’m 71 now. Alot of people say to me, “well, how did you become this person?” as if I did it as a single individual, well you don’t. We are the creatures of our own historic time and era. And so to become a young adult in the sixties, in a period in which all authority and all systems are being challenged. So in the midst of that, I as a young person was of course drawn to all that. I also say to people, the fact that I was white, the fact that I was in a university, the fact that I wasn’t mentally ill or on drugs or pregnant, et cetera, allowed me the space in which to participate in all of these things and I jumped right into them and found a home in two places. One in all those political movements and, um, one also in the student campus ministries, which at that point was a very much a part of all these social change movements. And that’s how I ended up in summer, 67 in chicago, in the black community, uh, working in the, uh, at the time it was west side organization I think is the Garfield organization, which was the political entity in both the black community and all of the churches. So doing a summer program with 1500 kids. My mother was sure we were going to get shot because that was the summer that Detroit and everywhere else burned down. I mean it was a violent time, very violent, more than now actually in spite of what people think. And that brought me full force into a, another number of things. The man who really headed that organization as a Lutheran minister, he was a Methodist minister at the time. Then when King was killed, the next year, he came to Missoula partly because of me and others here and started the, we started the first Black Studies program here, which was the third one in the United States because Ulysses Doss came here from Chicago because of the activism of this campus ministry here. So I mean that all. And that looked lIke to me, like the reservation only a lot more people crammed into a small amount of space, but very similar in a lot of other ways in the sense of intense poverty, violence, all of those kinds of systems going on. So yeah, it was an interesting time to be active. And of course we instantly found out that involved in things like the students for democratic society, SDS, that most of the men wanting to have sex with you. I won’t say what they really said. They didn’t really want to hear from women as activists. So we, of course, some of us persisted in that and started in 1968, I think, the women’s resource center at the time, the women’s action center to have our own political base to operate out of as well as being involved in all of the others that were around. So we created everything from women’s free schools, taught the first women’s studies classes, first rape crisis centers, um, that was the point at which we’d also started the, um, pregnancy referral service, because some of us at that point were just becoming sexually active in college. And so the issue in our first consciousness raising groups in 1968 or so, of course, partly were around sexuality and reproduction, and instantly, of course it was, well, where do you get information on birth control and campus? And campus student health service was not about to tell you about unless you were engaged or married, and so some of us did our own research and wrote up our own birth control pamphlet and tried to hand it out on campus which they confiscated. And then of course some women were getting pregnant, so some of us decided it was significant and important to make sure that women could have safe legal abortions at the time. And while I knew a number of people who are doing illegal abortions, we mostly referred women and took women to the state of Washington where it was legal before Roe. So it was an exciting time. I mean we would create something new every week. I mean, you could make up anything. I mean, who was going to tell you that you couldn’t create an organization or you couldn’t teach women’s studies? No one would even think to do that.
Amelia: Diane and I talked quite a bit about this spirit of independence in both the sixties and the Midwest and what it means to just get the thing done rather than waiting or asking for permission to do the thing. I find people contributing this get-it-done spirit to the contemporary Hacker movement, but I think it’s important to remember that it’s been an organizing strategy for a long time. Diane has thoughts on this, too.
Diane: Well there are theories about this, you know, which have to do with western independence and you just have to do things yourself. Also, those theories around urban areas select for specialists and rural areas select for generalIsts. And I am, if nothing, a generalist feminist. Hardly an issue you could pick up. I haven’t had some involvement with it some time and I think that’s the strength of feminism in more rural states as well. People aren’t reluctant in the slightest to jump into areas where they have no credentials whatsoever and just make it up. I mean we did make it up. Is there a need for it? And that really came out of I think as a feminist theoretical strategy, consciousness raising groups, which we still need to go back to and younger women need to do that because they need to quit asking us for permission to do things or thinking they have to intern to us or something to be able to act the hell with it. In my view, we would never have done that. They should get together, talk to each other, figure out what’s their burning needs. Something they have enough passion about to put energy into it and then figure out how to do it. We’ll help them but quit asking us to or thinking that they have to join existing ongoing groups. I think that’s one of the interesting things of all of the new rising women’s groups coming out of the Trump election is I don’t know what will happen to those. Some of them will congeal into new organizations, some of them will join existing organizations and others will just kind of be on the sidelines making whatever comments they do. But it’ll be interesting to see what new organizations come out of that without really feeling like they have to only belong to existing feminist groups.
Amelia: While this sense of just doing the thing and getting it done reflects Diane’s radical feminist roots, it’s not necessarily what we think of when we describe the political process where bureaucracy often rules the day. Hear Diane reflect on the shift from her sixties activism to her legislative career.
Diane: My partner laughs at me because in those earlier years I was one of the radical feminist, blah blah, blah, would have had nothing to do with liberal feminists and I thought the legislature and all that political process was sold out. I mean, I voted for Eldridge Cleaver for president of the United States in 1968. So I’ve been there and paid the price for it, believe me. Uh, and learned from that. I’m still, but what changed me was I remember sitting in the capital in the house with friend of mine who was one of the founders of Planned Parenthood here and watching the debate right after Roe of putting into place the Montana abortion control act, ‘73 or ‘74, and going, “huh, these people decide if women are going to die and I’m not gonna, let them do it,” and at that singular point, I crossed a line over to saying I’m going to have an impact on the traditional electoral process because it does make decisions that I can’t live without having something to say about. And even though I still think in my heart of hearts, of course, that I’m a radical feminist know, I also don’t live in a fantasy world. I live in a world where It’s a privilege to be able to just think about it theoretically. It’s another thing when you’re living with people who are institutionalized because they’re developmentally disabled, like my sister in law, or don’t have enough money for food or don’t have access to health care or can go to jail for growing marijuana or whatever it might be. Those are the realities I live in, and where my priority for the limited energy and time I have left in my life is focused on making sure we do the best we can around those issues and that at this point for me was in the elect electoral political process.
Amelia: Diane’s struggle here comes from the fact that radical feminism and electoral politics tend to see things pretty differently. Radical feminism emphasizes the ways in which systems and structure must be changed and even abolished to allow for those who are oppressed to survive and thrive. The electoral political process, on the other hand, tends to represent what we might call “incremental change,” considering the ways in which we can utilize bureaucratic structures to make impact in peoples’ lives. This is process that might be taken up by what we call liberal feminists, who are going to emphasize equality and working within existing systems to change women’s lives. Diane already recounted for us as she shifted from that radical feminist system to the electoral political process, but now we’ll hear from her about what it took to get into office and why it’s so important to her to be a politician.
Diane: The first time I ran, I was the first out gay elected official and I won, but I don’t know, it was 90 percent of the vote in the urban core of Missoula, which is very political and lefty and all. The theory I serve now is 500 square miles in the western part of the county, much more conservative and yeah, I won by 35 votes. I’m hoping to win by considerably more this time. But yeah, it’s a different challenge. But I love the legislative process. It is, um, an interesting place that forces you to be humble for one thing because first of all, while politicians say all kinds of themes about how they support this or that, frankly you can’t know that much about most issues. You know, about an inch deep in most of them. When you really get into the detail of working issues, they’re very complicated, if they’re of any significance, and have other points of view you have to take into account. So how do you work with the other points of view to craft something that serves everybody in the state’s interest in and contains enough of what you are trying to get at? You don’t get anything that’s perfect usually, but so humility, it teaches you and you have to work with people you disagree with, which I adore. I think that is one of the best things about the traditional political process. It forces you to get out of your damn bubble and talk to people who don’t agree with you and you know, sometimes they’re right and they certainly have a different point of view that could be correct. I totally agree with Scott Sales, President of the senate, who says he never bodes for any of this stuff that has federal money because we’re making it up at the federal level. I say, “you’re absolutely right. It’s totally fake money and I’m still going to take every bit of it I could get. As long as they’re offering it, I’m taking it.” But it forces you to have conversations and build friendships with people you disagree with and that’s what you have to do. If you live in a rural area, you learn that too, you know, if you are living out there on a country road and it’s winter in your car stalls or you can’t get somewhere, you depend on each other, regardless of what your political point of view is.
Amelia: These sorts of cars-stalled-on-country-roads relationships may seem unique to Montana, but Diane also reflected on how relationships are at the core of any political work and should be at the core of government itself.
Diane: What is the role of government? To feed people. We can’t feed children if we can’t take care of children, if we can’t provide health care, if we can’t get my sister in law, out of an institution because she’s my disabled, why are we government? To me, that’s the purpose of government: general welfare. General welfare is very important to me and it comes out of both my Judeo-christian background and my life on the reservation. So that’s why I do the work that I do and I’m pretty damn good at it. And persistent over time. That’s the other thing I think electoral politics teaches you how to do that, is things such as the package or rape bills that I got introduced and passed last session. Go back to, you know, uh, sexual assault on campus, a gang rape football team of a woman. The university convinced the woman to leave. Well, I went down, spray-painted rapist all over the guy’s house, and issued a statement for the press. These days, I pass a package of legislation that includes a requirement around consent. How do I do it? Well, I do not allow a discussion to degenerate into all men being rapists or all women. None of that. No feminist discussion here whatsoever. I get the military to come in, who have adopted language around consent in their prosecution, in the all the study of this, the republican county attorneys who are prosecuting sexual assault come in and talk about how it works. The brigadier general of the military and the state comes in and talks about the statute that includes language around consent. Republicans and the men go, hmm okay, 148 out of 150 votes for it. Strategy. It’s all in the framing and in the relationships. I mean, if primarily a lot of those men did not trust me or like me, that would never have been even possible. It isn’t that we don’t dramatically disagree on issues. Like on the abortion issue, I’m the one who ends up countering those issues on the floor, you know, defending those rights are really fundamentally important to me. But it is about relationships and in this state, if you want to do political work or any kind of work, it’s about relationships. It’s not about your position, it’s about your relationships.
Amelia: Diane shared so much more with me about her career and experience, but I wanted to pause at this emphasis on relationships to bring a new voice to this episode and illustrate how another organization in Montana is taking up this call to build relationships and resist oppressive systems. The Montana Racial Equity Project (often called Montana REP) is an advocacy group for minorities in Montana and the state’s only black-led non-profit. In a state that is 89% white, their core offerings center on education about racial injustice to raise community awareness about inequity in the state. I spoke with Aspen Hougen, an MTREP volunteer and co-instructor of the group’s popular Dismantling Hatred workshop.
Aspen: I’ve been involved with the Montana Racial Equity Project for close to two years now. During the 2016 election cycle, I sort of got very into my emotions and very depressed and upset about what was going on. I’m sure this is a fairly familiar story for a lot of people, and the night of the election, I went, well, I can either spend an indefinite amount of time being scared and upset or I can find literally anything to do with myself to make it better. And, um, I was peripherally aware of Montana REP because one of the girls I went to graduate school had been an exchange student and the mother of her host family, Judith Heilman, is our founder and executive director. And so in November of 2016, I went, okay, literally the least I can do is I’ll follow this facebook page. And so I did that and I’m like, you know, maybe they’ll be some, some opportunities, maybe I can at least get an idea of where some work can be done. And Judith put out a call for volunteers in December of that year. And I was like, Oh, pick me, pick me. So I’ve been working as one of the main admins for the facebook page since December of 2016. And then we do a workshop, it’s now a seven hour workshop called the Dismantling Hatred workshop, which is sort of our signature, organizational offering and I started doing that in the spring of that year. And so it’s been about 18 months now that I’ve been in a, a co-instructor as well as running the facebook page.
Amelia: I wanted to hear more about the Dismantling Hatred workshop and everything it entails, so here’s Aspen walking us through a workshop day.
Aspen: So the, the ultimate goal of the dismantling hatred workshop is we want to take people who are kind of where I was when I got involved, who want to do something about racial justice, who want to make a difference and don’t know how and don’t have the tools. And so we start in the morning, I’m with terminology, so we begin by laying out, here’s the vocabulary for talking about race, here’s what we mean when we say racism versus prejudice versus bigotry. Here’s what a microaggression is. And we actually have a fairly long part of our presentation dedicated to here are some examples of microaggressions. Here’s why you might say something you think is nicer, harmless, and what it really means to a marginalized person to hear that. And then we ask people to look at their own cultural and racial lenses. When I first took the workshop — and this is a shared experience that a lot of people have reported — I considered myself to be pretty woke at the time and I still sat there and it was like, “what do you value or find unique and important about your own race?” And so I, I looked at this question for a while and it kind of sat with them and I went, “oh my God, I’m white.” Like it’s so it’s so blinding to be white. You don’t have to think yourself as a person who has a race, because whiteness is seen as the default. And so for a lot of participants in the workshop, that’s a very big moment. And then we typically break for lunch, because usually after that people need some protein. And then the second half of the day we move from the sort of grounding in concepts and vocabulary into how do you put those into practice. And so that looks like a session on communication tools. How can you talk to people about race in a way that won’t immediately shut them down? And that’s more focused on how to have those conversations with people you have relationships with. You know, Thanksgiving dinner with your super racist uncle, the coworker who thinks that it’s super funny to make jokes about indigenous people, you know, like how do you have a conversation with that person? What are some tools for starting that conversation that are not immediately going to put them on the defensive and caused them to not be willing to have this conversation with you? And then from there, uh, the last portion of the training that we go into is bystander intervention. And that’s really kind of, we put it at the end because it’s what we’re leading up to. Um, you know, we, we want people to be equipped to do everyday antiracist work, but we’re also very concerned with making sure that people know how to intervene in emergent situations in ways that are safe and that center of the oppressed person. So we talk a lot about what do you do if you see somebody being harassed in a grocery checkout, you know, what do you do if somebody is shouting racial slurs at another person on public transportation, like how do you step in in a way that is safe for everybody involved as much as possible and that is not going to escalate the situation. And um, the benefit of that training is Judith is actually a retired police officer and so she’s had extensive training in conflict resolution and in deescalating emergent situations that she brings to the table for that training, and ultimately what we say is we’re training first responders like we’re training you to be ready to step in when there is an emergency. And a lot of people don’t feel ready to do that because they’ve never thought about what they would do in that scenario. And so even if they want to do something, they don’t feel like they know how to do it or what to do. So our goal is that they will walk out with an idea in mind of how they would do and how and that they are committed to kind of practicing it in their head to make themselves more ready to respond. So yeah, it’s really, it’s amazing. It’s really an honestly really great program. Judith has worked extensively on the curriculum, and it’s fantastic.
Amelia: The value of this sort of programming in Montana can’t be overstated. While I previously mentioned that Montana is 89% white, MT Rep wants to emphasize that the state is 11% not white. There are many members of minority groups who live in Montana and their lives need to be considered and fostered too, especially because of the marginalization they face. To provide just one example, a 2017 YWCA report on racial equity in Montana, reports that the University of Montana has 8,000 students and only 76 are Black. Only 0.6% of Montana residents identify as Black or African American, and to quote the report directly, they say “It is difficult for people of color to live in Montana in peace because in counties where the Black population is zero, there seems to be a misunderstanding between the two ethnic backgrounds and some are unable to find common ground with others in their community.” What I think this report and Montana REP’s work wants to address is that racial justice work is often most necessary in spaces that have only one or 76 or even zero marginalized folks. These are the spaces where so much more work has to be done to provide resources and change ideological structures. And this is the reality that Montana REP wants to highlight and works to resolve with it’s programming. Hear Aspen speak to this in her own words:
Aspen: There’s a very much a picture in people’s head that Montana is pretty much like there’s not that many people there and the ones that are there are white and that’s not entirely inaccurate, you know, statistically. But the, the issue is that when you have a state that sees itself as a white state, the erasure of anybody who is not white is way more severe and way more pervasive. In places where there are larger communities of color, it’s harder for white people to say, well, we don’t have any race problem because there’s none of those people here. You know. And so that’s the conversation we get a lot. And Judith, our director is black, and so she has personally had people tell her “there’s no racism in Montana, because there’s no black people here,” like as you’re talking to a black person. Um, but the truth of the matter is that there are people of color here and there always have been. There are black communities throughout Montana. There are black people living as the only black person in a white community in the smaller towns. And then of course we have a huge indigenous population. And so racial equity in Montana specifically has a lot to do with racial justice for our indigenous population. And so for us, a big part of what we do as an organization is to push that idea of visibility, not just that there are people of color here, maybe you don’t notice that maybe the reason you don’t notice them is because racism and white supremacy has taught you that they’re not here. But then also the sort of uncovering of racism is a really big deal in Montana. There are a lot of really serious incidents of racism, especially with our indigenous communities. You know, there’s very much a stigma against indigenous people in Montana, um, and it comes out in a lot of really gross, ugly sometimes institutional ways. You know, we have volunteers who are Latinx, we have volunteers who are Asian American, who are indigenous, and every one of them has multiple stories, you know, and so part of what we do is to try and help people understand like this is happening here. We wouldn’t, there wouldn’t be a Montana racial equity project if there wasn’t a need for a racial equity project in Montana.
Amelia: What strikes me about my conversations with Aspen and Diane is both the long history of progressive work in Montana and the constant, even increasing need for that work to be done. When I set out for the Midwest, everyone warned me that I was headed into red country and might not find any feminists there, but I must say that I am amazed by the depth of the blue I found in places like these, and just like MT REP wants to change the idea that Montana’s population is all-white, I want to change the idea that it’s political landscape is all-red as well. There are vibrant communities of color in Montana, and there are powerful progressive organizations as well.
If you’re interested in racial equity in Montana or MT REP’s programming specifically, I’ll link to MT REP’s website and the YWCA report I cited earlier in the shownotes. You can find those at fiftyfeministstates.com/podcast.
And Diane Sands is currently running for reelection for Montana’s state senate. We wish her the very best with her campaign, and I’ll link to her website in the shownotes.
I also want to say that my conversation with Diane only scratched the surface of the deep and impactful activist work she’s done over the past five decades. I actually originally found her work through the Montana Feminist Oral History Project which she organized in the early 2000s to collect and interpret the history of second wave feminist activism in Montana. I’ll link to that in the shownotes as well along with her article on using oral history to document illegal abortions in Montana, a piece that feels unfortunately relevant necessary to revisit in the contemporary political climate.
Next episode we’ll travel east to North Dakota. Until then, I’ll see you on the road!
[music plays in background]
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of Fifty Feminist States. You can follow Fifty Feminist States to stay updated on episodes and roadtrip happenings on Instagram at @fiftyfeministstates that’s @f-i-f-t-y-feministstates.
Our opening music is by Lobo Loco and this wonderfully sexist song that you’re listening to on our way out is a recording by Billy Murray from 1916.
Special thanks go out to Diane and Aspen for meeting with me and sharing her insight into Montana’s feminist landscape. I also have to thank the hundred or so Kickstarter backers who made funding this season possible.
Until next time, wild ones! We’ll see you on the road.