Whitefish protester kept composure
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Missoulian editorial

Whitefish protester kept composure

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A pillar of huckleberries to Samantha Francine, a woman of color whose unwavering gaze at an angry older white man, who was yelling profanities and swatting down protesters’ signs in Whitefish, was captured on video and has been shared thousands of times. In the video Jay Snowden, 51, leans over Francine, 27, with his fists clenched as she holds her sign and her ground, staring directly into his eyes. Francine’s action is being held up as a powerful example of a peaceful but firm response to the kind of hateful behavior that has, unfortunately, become infamous in the Flathead Valley. As one local community organizer put it, “Samantha Francine is really showing the entire country that love is going to win.”

Verified authentic chokecherries to Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, for referring to the wearing of face masks as a “hoax to push government compliance.” In responding to a motion by a fellow legislator that would have required everyone entering the Capitol in Helena to wear a mask, Thomas was well within his bounds to voice his opinion about face masks. But the “hoax” label was uncalled for and undermines the very real recommendations of public health experts who say that face masks do, in fact, prevent the spread of disease.

Proactive huckleberries to Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White for candidly addressing the community’s concerns about police policies and training. Members of city council have received hundreds of emails asking for more information about the Missoula police, with many of these messages apparently based on a template calling to defund the police, and the new chief tackled those questions during a council meeting on Wednesday. Chief White outlined his experience with implicit bias training and talked about rewriting the department’s use of force policy, a project he took on months before George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.

A poor choice of chokecherries to the 74% of Montana University System Honor Scholarship recipients who plan to attend Montana State University instead of the University of Montana. While MSU is undoubtedly a fine school, it simply doesn’t compare to the superior educational opportunities that abound at UM, not to mention the range of enriching experiences offered in Missoula – which these 160-or-so high school graduates would likely discover in due time. The good news is that it’s not too late for them to change their minds and join Griz Nation.

An earful of huckleberries to Montana Public Radio and its many ardent supporters, who helped the station raise more than $613,000 during a six-day on-air fundraiser. That’s a strong showing of support, especially considering that the fundraiser had to be delayed by the coronavirus and many listeners are experiencing economic hardship from lost jobs and shortened hours. The money will go a long way toward keeping the station up and running, as listener support accounts for about 75% of its operating budget.

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Missoulian editorial: In spite of unfounded rumors and a bit of provocative behavior, the protests, counter-protests and side protests remained impassioned but peaceful.

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