Mountain Sky Conference's Mission Team and United Methodist Women have teamed up to bring you this four-part study titled PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. The class will be offered virtually on July 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2021 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm MDT each evening. The course presents how even with obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes and despair, Black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives. Black girls from coast to coast tell stories of being pushed out of schools and into the juvenile justice system. Education is an important pathway out of poverty, yet issues of race, culture and gender block the path for too many. Participants will engage in conversation on how to reduce the criminalization of Black girls, that we may interrupt pathways to confinement for ALL youth. The course is free and open to all adults. Registration will open in mid-June on-line at mtnskyumw.org website. Participants are asked to purchase and read Monique Morris's book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, prior to attending the study. The book may be purchased at a bookstore or borrowed from a library near you.
Study leader Pastor Melanie Martin-Dent is an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) pastor who has served UMC congregations in Dillon and Sidney, MT. She has been a pastor for 38 years and currently serves Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Polson, MT on the Flathead Indian Reservation. She also serves on the CSKT (Confederated Salish and Kootenia Tribes) Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Force and participates on the Young Child Wellness Council. She is also a founding member and past chair of the Ministry Council of Freedom in Christ Prison Ministry at Montana State Prison. She is married, with two adult children, one adult foster child and two grandchildren. Built on a firm foundation of God's saving grace, she seeks to nurture faith, hope and love within our church, bearing witness to Jesus' transforming power in our communities.