Learn Missoula’s vision is to use BIPOC-generated knowledge to envision and design solutions and action strategies for transforming Missoula into a place and space of equality, equity, and inclusion where whiteness is de-centered at a structural level, particularly in local government.
LEARN Missoula’s proposed research is beneficial and significant for three reasons. First, the voices of BIPOCs often are conspicuously absent or marginalized in research (Marten, 2009) that seeks to address the dismantling of structural inequities and systemic oppression. Instead, the empirical and theoretical literature have tended to represent dominant western cultural perceptions and conceptualizations (Brodsky et. al., 2016; Ungar, 2012). Therefore, a fundamental premise of LEARN Missoula proposed research is that BIPOCs are uniquely qualified to provide germane and significant insights on effective ways to create just and equitable communities and municipal systems because of their lived experiences as ethno-racial minorities.
Moreover, BIPOCs stratified location, position, and social identities which converge and intersect synergistically result in an ongoing cascade of statistically significant disparities that are inherent aspects of their lived experience. This makes them supremely eligible, imminently qualified, and in the best position to offer valuable and relevant action strategies and recommendations on creating more just, inclusive, non-biased, and equitable societies. Thus, LEARN Missoula will actively engage with, invite and center BIPOC thoughts, ideas and action strategies.
Second, a beneficial outcome of LEARN proposed research will be shaping and influencing current and future policies. Ungar (2012) has noted that the voices of disadvantaged and marginalized individuals tend to go unheard when it comes to the development of policies and services that matter most to their wellbeing. Therefore, LEARN will ensure that the lived experiences and recommended action strategies of diverse BIPOC groups are integrated in policy development or modification.
Finally, investing in local BIPOC-generated knowledge is fiscally responsible. This study is significant because it can contribute to improved quality of life and well-being for BIPOCs in Missoula; thereby, reducing the overall cost attached to managing and responding to the deleterious effects of systemic oppression, institutionalized injustice, structural inequality and discrimination.
Our vision is to use BIPOC-generated knowledge to envision and design solutions and action strategies for transforming Missoula into a place and space of equality, equity, and inclusion where whiteness is de-centered at a structural level, particularly in local government.