By Kat Jackson

Forward MT Foundation prides itself on empowering young people to be involved in the political process. Through their internship program, college students such as myself have the opportunity to learn how to not only involve ourselves in our community, but how to inspire others to do so as well. Working alongside FMF staff and the three other passionate interns in Missoula this past semester has been truly inspiring.

The most striking thing I’ve learned through this experience is that organizing isn’t really about politics; it’s about making connections with people. You can’t inspire empowerment in someone if you haven’t identified what matters to them. The other interns and I have learned how to tell our stories and the stories of our peers in a way that makes people feel seen and accepted. When we’re out around Missoula doing voter registration and working on our internship projects, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from a vast variety of backgrounds and a wide range of values. Through this experience, I’ve learned that know matter what our political leanings are, where we come from, or where life has taken us, on a foundational level, we all just want what’s best for our community and our country.

Empowerment comes in many forms, but the people involved with Forward Montana seem to have a knack at making everyone feel that their thoughts and ideas are important, and this makes the people they come in contact with want to get involved in the political process. Forward Montana is special because they truly care about the people they are advocating for on an individual level, and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside such compassionate organizers.

Kat Jackson is a Forward MT Foundaton intern and former 6-Mill Levy Organizer, and editor of FMF’s spring newsletter.