When all Americans are treated as equal

“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

–Barack Obama

Dear friends,
June 11 was the 139th birthday of our namesake, Jeannette Rankin. She inspires us yet today with her tireless work for peace and justice and her courage to stand for what is right – even if that meant standing alone. But she would not want us to stop at inspiration alone. She would ask us to do more and work harder, to follow her lead and persevere for an end to war and violence, the restoration of civil liberties, a government accountable to the people and dignity and human rights for all people. 

The PRIDE Celebration is in Helena next week (and in the hearts and minds of LGBT+ and allies everywhere!), and I can imagine Jeannette’s feisty spirit will be there marching for justice. Change is happening, but so is an increase in hate crimes and violence aimed at the LGBT+ community. There is much more work to do to crack the shell of indifference and hatred, to remove the barriers of misunderstanding and intolerance. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our LGBT+ friends and neighbors teach us daily about courage in the face of hatred and injustice. PRIDE is about celebrating that courage and standing proudly with our friends to say we will not tolerate the injustices they confront. We will work with them to make the world a different place. It’s the one week when the queer community doesn’t have to try to fit into a mold to be like everyone else. They can stop feeling less than or different than and just be proud. Jeannette Rankin never tried to fit the mold that was assigned to women in her day. She stood out with courage and vision. I think she asks us to do the same. If you can’t go to Helena , get out your rainbow gear (or get some new at The Olive Branch!) and make a statement of proud support.

Still Haven’t Bought Your Father’s Day Gift? Treat your father fairly with a gift from the Olive Branch Fair Trade Store! We have lots to choose from including “buy-one-get-one-half-off coffee!! Come in today to purchase your Father’s Day gift!!

Thursdays, June 13, 20, 27 and July 11 and 18, 5:30-7 pm, JRPC . Mark your calendar for our popular international discussion series with Humphrey Fellowship professional from around the world. This year will feature 15 mid-level folks from 15 countries in professions as varied as education, journalism and government. Tonight’s discussion will focus on Public Policy & Economic Development with Fellows from Mali, Tunisia and Ecuador.