Bridgercare must do better. For decades, we have prided ourselves in ensuring that the clinic is a safe, inclusive space for all patients. And in light of current events, we started drafting a letter yesterday in support for our local Black Bozeman community which you can read below. However, in the hours it took to write this, we received feedback that we have not delivered on this promise. We have failed to provide inclusive, respectful care for many local people of color. This is unacceptable. To any patient who did not receive the comprehensive, compassionate care they deserved, we are so sorry. We are committed to doing the hard work to truly make Bridgercare a place where everyone feels safe, welcome, and supported. We also say thank you to everyone who spoke up and is holding Bridgercare accountable.
We are posting the following while also creating a plan for education and action with our staff. We have a lot of work to do on the lifelong journey of becoming anti-racist, both as individuals and an organization. We do this because every person should be able to go for a walk, bird watch, sleep in their homes, protest, and live their life without violence. If every person does not have the right to bodily autonomy without threat of violence, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.
We believe in this uncontestable truth: Black Lives Matter. Bridgercare stands in solidarity with those who are challenging systemic racism that takes and threatens Black and Brown lives. As an organization, we cannot stay silent about the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many more. We unequivocally support Black Bozeman. We are angry and heartbroken over the numerous Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives across Montana.
That is why we are taking our grief and rage and turning it into action. We hope you will join us. Each of us needs to do our part to ensure that our country begins to live up to its promise of freedom and justice for all.
Especially as a reproductive healthcare clinic, we must confront our own history. The legacy of family planning carries a painful record of racism and trauma. We are determined to never let that be a part of our future.
The following are resources recommended by experts in the field:
“How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi
“One Person No Vote” by Carol Anderson
“White Supremacy and Me” by Layla F. Saad (a workbook)
“White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo
“A Man Was Lynched Yesterday – The Inhumanity of Whiteness” by Meshayla Cox
13th (Netflix or on Youtube for free here)
Just Mercy (streaming for free for the month of June. Find more info here)
Follow, Donate, and Get Involved Locally:
Please join us in taking action. That might look like making donations, signing petitions, emailing or calling representatives, getting involved with local action, and/or educating yourself and having these critical, and often tough conversations with the people around you. Two things we have learned over the years are: 1. Ally is a verb and 2. Our silence makes a statement.
Lastly, we are on the lifelong journey of anti-racism. If you see a way Bridgercare can do better, please reach out. We would be so grateful to speak with you. Please contact Stephanie McDowell, Executive Director, at email@example.com or 406-587-0681 ext 131.