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LEARN Missoula

Goals of the Project

The foundational premise of our work is that systemic oppression, particularly white supremacy, and racism exists in Missoula, and that BIPOCs lived experiences must be centered in dismantling them—narrated and described through our own voices and from our perspectives. Narrating, describing, and reflecting those experiences through a research lens has power by connecting these experiences to systemic challenges in a quantifiable fashion. Our desired outcome is to transform systems and spaces with which BIPOC Missoulian’s interface; effectively decentering the currency of whiteness.

There are four goals for our research:
1. To actively engage BIPOCs who historically have been forced to the margins of the research process by using a transformative paradigm, which embodies a human rights, social justice and critical approach to research (Mertens, 2009).

2. To cultivate research partnerships with BIPOC community-based organizations, groups and residents. In forming research partnerships with BIPOCs, for whom the research matters on practical levels, this research becomes participatory and action-oriented. The primary aim is not simply to listen and engage but to serve as a call to justice through social action (Krai& Allen, 2016).

3. To center BIPOC voices on issues of structural inequity, marginalization and systemic oppression by bringing their lived experiences to the forefront through an ethically well-designed research process that will inform transformative social action strategies.

4. To scrutinize the nature of municipal departments existing and archival data in order gain a depth of understanding relating to their interactions with and treatment of BIPOC residents.

And we seek four important outcomes:

1. The generation of practical and applied knowledge directly from BIPOC residents, collaborators, key informants/stakeholders with whom LEARN Missoula will engage in research conversations.

2. The acquisition of BIPOC-centered solutions and strategic actions steps that will inform the transformative process of dismantling structural inequity and systemic oppression in private and public spaces inclusive of Missoula City and County.

3. The privileging of BIPOC-generated knowledge and strategies so that they play an instrumental role in the process of bringing about social transformation in municipal systems.

4. A deeper understanding of the nature of municipal departments existing and archival data and the ways in which they collect, analyze, and use their data for policy development and improvements in service delivery or quality of life for BIPOC residents. A crucial outcome of the data scrutiny and evaluation is to obtain objective and quantifiable information about Missoula BIPOC residents’ social reality as they interface with City and County systems; but more importantly to offer specific transformative recommendations based on these insights.

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