By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – The Big Sky Social Justice Group will host a solidarity event on Friday, June 19 from 4-6 p.m. While original plans involved a discussion, march and live music show, for the safety of the community in light of new COVID-19 data, they will be adapting their event.
In lieu of marching, they are asking community members utilize this time and space for a silent statement. There will be a designated space in Fire Pit Park to leave signs with messages of education, hope, solidarity and unity. They will be left up through Sunday, to be viewed publicly by passerby.
They are also encouraging local businesses to brighten up the town by leaving chalk messages on the sidewalks and painting messages of hope and solidarity in their windows.
“We can remain distant, while still having this conversation, and we intend to do so,” said one of the organizers, Rhea Foreman.
This event, sparked by the nationwide movement against police brutality, is organized by the Big Sky Social Justice Group members Rhea Marie Foreman, Ruthi Solari and Kristen Hovs. This will be the first organized event for the newly-formed grassroots initiative.
“As a predominantly white community, there are a lot of injustices and covert racism that happen and are mainly swept under the rug,” Foreman said. “We as a community need to say just because we are isolated, that doesn’t give us the right to be ignorant. We believe being silent is being complicit.”
Organizers say the event is meant to convey the message that Big Sky will not remain neutral in situations of injustice and also invite the community into a process of learning how to be allies to communities of color.
“Big Sky attracts diverse visitors from all over the world to come enjoy the beautiful nature and outdoor recreation and to work here,” Foreman said. “We need to ensure that, one: Big Sky is welcoming and safe for people from all cultural and racial backgrounds, and two: that the outdoor industry is more representative of our diverse population in the U.S.”
Although organized separately, the Social Justice group notes they are in solidarity with the organizations that hosted recent rallies in Bozeman. Foreman says they have communicated with local police who are supportive of their message and committed to maintaining positive relations with the community.