WHITEFISH — Samantha Francine of Whitefish held her head high in the midst of a confrontation as a man was yelling inches away from her face on June 3, 2020.
Francine was protesting alongside others in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which catapulted Francine into nationwide headlines.
“It's been a whirlwind and it's been really amazing, and a blessing in so many ways,” said Francine.
A video was taken of a man yelling obscenities in the face of Francine as she stood there, standing her ground, and looking the man squarely in the eyes.
That video turned into a screenshot of Francine, being shared online worldwide
“It's just a moment that got captured, but what's coming because of that moment is really spectacular,” said Francine.
Francine accepted opportunities to be on CBS News, Kelly Clarkson's talk show, and other nationwide television networks, but to her this was an opportunity to help create a safer space in Whitefish.
“All the flashy stuff was fun and powerful, and I'm so grateful for that. But this is always been about my community. This is always been about Whitefish, it's ripple effect," Francine said.
"It starts with me and my family and my friends and my community. And so that's just kind of where I'm focusing on,” she added.
Francine is working with Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial and the city manager to help cultivate a better understanding of racism, and how to manage situations just like last June.
Francine says all it takes to create change is to take a step forward, and use your voice.
“Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the best things that you can do and it gives you the opportunity to make changes that you don't even know where possible,” said Francine.
And to not be afraid of what others may think.
“People are going to judge you regardless, so you have the opportunity to do whatever you want and you get to be on the right side of history on some of those things, we're better together, we're better united,” said Francine.
You can find more about Samantha's activism on her Instagram here.