MHRN offers tips for when racist fliers are found in your neighborhood

Downtown Helena
Posted at 1:51 PM, Jul 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-24 10:47:44-04

HELENA — Residents in a Helena area neighborhood have reported recently finding pamphlets that perpetuate a widely debunked racist conspiracy.

MTN will not be showing the fliers or naming the group that says it's responsible, but we did talk to the Montana Human Rights Network about how to respond to activities like this if they happen where you live.

MHRN says these extremist groups plan regular days of action like this to drum up attention.

Your first instinct when finding a flier in your neighborhood or on your car may be to post it on social media and alert your neighbors. However, MHRN says that is exactly what these groups hope you will do, and you may be unintentionally spreading their message and fear.

MHRN is a non-profit that tracks extremism and extremist groups in Montana and combats hate and racism. They have developed a rapid response guide to help people respond to similar incidents. It includes gathering and saving any evidence, alerting the authorities, and talking with your neighbors face to face.

Carilyn DeVries with MHRN says it is also important to show support for the people in your community targeted by these groups.

She also shared some other thoughtful ways people have responded to messages of hate in their community in the past.

“One incident happened in Great Falls where these fliers were dropped in plastic bags at the end of driveways, the typical delivery method,” explained DeVries. “And one of these neighbors saw what it was and went around to all the neighbors picked up all of them, and threw them away and saved one show us at MHRN.”

DeVries says incidents like the one in Helena aim to make people in the community feel afraid and alone.

Connecting with others face to face and finding and supporting groups in your community that promote equity, diversity and inclusion can help you find more ways to fight extremism.

The MHRN has an online form where you can report instances of hate and racism.