From Vision To Reality
“We encourage people to learn about the past and present, and to engage others in consciously defining the future.”
In 1986, activists from a number of small peace & justice groups in the Missoula area envisioned a central clearinghouse for peace information and resources, and a meeting place to gather human spirit for peacemaking. Their hope was to move a concern for peacemaking from the invisible fringes of the community directly into its heart. From a small, loaned room in a church basement, to a rented storefront, to its own home by the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (JRPC) has established itself as a visible and active force for a positive future. Whenever the peace is disturbed – locally, nationally or globally – our phones ring off the hook. Media, local government officials, members of the University community, activists and the general public turn to us as a source of information, wider means of information dissemination, or a place to network with other concerned individuals. With the buildup toward war on Iraq, planning and implementation of multiple rallies occurred here through which thousands of concerned Montanans gathered in the cause of peace.
Continuing Programs And Activities
In addition to being responsive to the community’s immediate needs, there are several ongoing activities and programs of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, including:
- A resource lending library with a collection of over 2,000 books, video and audio tapes on issues of diversity, conflict resolution, social justice, building sustainable communities, and much more.
- A thriving Fair Trade Store – a unique marketplace and educational resource that is a source of viable support of our global neighbors for whom fair trade means a just, dignified and environmentally sustainable alternative to the widespread exploitative effects of global free trade.
- A multi-faceted public education/media campaign aimed at revitalizing the public discourse essential to an informed electorate. This is accomplished through community forums, message advertising in the local newspapers and on the radio, letter-writing campaigns, and in other ways.
- An Arts Activism program that provides innovative opportunities for the community to engage in hands-on social activism through the arts.
- A free weekly e-newsletter distributed to several hundred subscribers listing upcoming peace, justice, and sustainability events as well as action alerts, other announcements, and links to compelling articles in the alternative and mainstream press.
- This interactive website, visited by thousands per month.
- Underwriting of the local daily airing of the syndicated cable network Free Speech TV which includes programs such as the award-winning “Democracy Now.”
- A weekly peace and justice film series during the academic year on the University of Montana campus.
- Fiduciary support services for fledgling non-profits whose missions are aligned with our own.
JRPC’S focus is on public awareness and education. We encourage people to learn about the past and present, and to engage others in consciously defining the future. How can we create human institutions which facilitate peace, justice, and sustainability? How would culture need to evolve to support these values every day of our lives? The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center provides an environment and resources through which people can come together and focus their energies on practical and inspiring action.