Join Our Conversation – May 23, and June 9


May 17, 2018

“We use the word terrorism to silence others.” ~Rami Elhanan, an Israeli Jew

Dear friends,

Responding to the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the protests and massacre following it in Palestine, I have seen articles petitions and opinion pieces full war is not healthy 1966of rage, sadness, shame and despair. I have also seen reports claiming that some of the stories are contrived to skew the truth. I guess it is human nature for all of us no matter what side we are on, to see any situation from our own perspective and try to convince others that our version of the truth is the right one. Hence the title for our 4th Un-conference (on June 9). Hopefully it will be an opportunity for us to open our minds and see beyond ourselves.

Meanwhile, no one can skew the fact that over 60 Palestinians are dead and close to 2700 injured while protesting for their freedom in what was only the latest in a series of deadly clashes. The one place on earth that should stand most firmly for love and justice is instead a breeding ground for violence and deception. Rami Elhanan in Israel and Bassam Aramin in Palestine who both lost children in the conflict ask ‘why are men so angry that they kill children to get what they want?’…a question well-worth pondering. Our hope lies in alliances such as this one where both sides are willing to open up and really hear the others’ stories. And in the midst of our own rage, sadness, shame and despair, we ask, ‘what can we do?’

Join JRPC and others interested for a discussion on how to answer that question at 5 pm on Wednesday, May 23 at JRPC. Bring friends, ideas and an open mind…Betsy

Meanwhile, here are some resources:

Steve McArthur Peacemaker of the Year


May 3, 2018

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
~John Holmes


Steve McArthur – Peacemaker of the Year

Dear friends,

One of my favorite letters to write — introducing you to the Peacemaker we have chosen. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a man of great hope and compassion, though to most of you he will need no introduction. Steve McArthur walks the walk like few others! Every day, he draws from the values of respect, cooperation and openness to reach out and connect with everyone he meets. And he does it with the biggest smile, the warmest hug and the most contagious laugh. The fun he has in life rubs off on us and the feelings of being valued and respected that he gives everyone he meets is a basic foundation to the work we all need to do to build peace.

Steve is above all, a good citizen and a great steward of our earth and he believes we all have a responsibility to care about our planet,and each other and as his life is a testament to the actions inherent in living up to that responsibility. To Steve, peace means respecting others, listening deeply to other points of view and working to build consensus. His commitment to peace extends to his own willingness to walk lightly on the earth, composting and recycling, working the earth to grow food to share with others and volunteering for so many Missoula organizations it would be difficult to list them all. Join me in thanking Steve for teaching us to treasure and protect our planet, to truly enjoy life and bring hope to others, to value above all the connections and conversations we have with each other and to truly look below the surface with compassion and love at the value of each person we meet. Thank you Steve for lifting us up in the name of peace…Betsy

The Future of Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT)


“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

April 26, 2016

Against the backdrop of out-of-state media control, Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) stands as a beacon of local independent media. From broadcasting MCATCity Council meetings and local sports to candidate forums and cultural events, MCAT helps the Missoula community understand itself. This is our media, funded largely by rent the cable company pays the City of Missoula for using public lands for its television cable infrastructure.

Federal law mandates that the city and its cable television provider negotiate a contract every 10-15 years that determines the cable company’s responsibilities to the Missoula community. One of these responsibilities is to pay the federally determined rent used to fund MCAT’s basic operating costs and equipment. Beyond cash, there are many other ways Charter can aid and assist the Missoula Community. Quality of service in cable television provision is one dimension that can be detailed in the new contract. The number of channels allotted to local community programming is another example. Although MCAT currently has two channels, other communities of like size have three.

The City of Missoula and Charter are midstream in negotiating a new contract for the next 10-15 years. Public comment is a huge part of leverage the City can use to strengthen the public’s side of the negotiation. What would you like Charter to provide over the next 10-15 years? What role do you see MCAT playing in Missoula’s media future? Your answers to questions like these are vital to the negotiation process to identify changes that might be made to meet the current and future cable-related needs and interests of Missoula residents.

I invite every one of you to go to the link below right now and fill out the survey.

If not now, then please do so no later than May 15. The media future of our community depends on it!

Nancy Leifer, Volunteer Coordinator, JRPC

P.S. Our hearts go out to the family of JRPC member Michael Kreisberg who died recently.

Remembering the Dream


“To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair.
To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand.
To never look away. And never, never to forget.” ~ Arundhati Roy

April 5,2018
Dear friends,
As the world remembered Dr. Martin Luther King yesterday and the tragic shooting that ended his life, we are left with the reality of a world far from his dream. Black men are mlkinoslostill targets, War is still a constant evil and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Dr. King must have had days when he was discouraged and felt the weight of all that is wrong with the world — the tragedy of our human failings. But he never ever gave up hope. He never failed to see others with respect and to believe that we would get to the promised land he saw. That is the gift the Nobel Prize committee recognized. The radical revolution Dr. King advocated was not popular. There were many — black and white — who criticized him for being passive, for not seeking power. He knew that our true power lies in nonviolence, and today that is more true than ever. Let’s continue to hear those voices and heed those calls…Betsy

PS: I will be away for 2 weeks so you may not receive a newsletter. Please know I am appreciating the break!

Moving Beyond Judgement

“There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than   partpeacesignlove.” 
~Father Greg Boyle
March 29, 2018
Dear friends,
Recently, a video went viral on facebook about a Missoula restaurant employee cursing, spitting and throwing food at a customer. Now similar videos happen on facebook all the time — seems we as a society are drawn to the extreme, the outlandish, the next-best-thing-to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. But this time, someone spoke up with words of wisdom. A seminary student wrote “I know the employee, and I know her as a deeply caring and generous person who has dedicated her life to helping others.” He went on to ponder the meaning of good and evil and to caution that both are contained in each of us. He made me realize that all too often, I focus on judgments rather than seeing the many sides of the person not being highlighted. I fall for the story I see without having the courage to see further and point the way as he did. Every story has many sides. And to judge the whole by what you see on the surface is to miss the treasure that is hidden in each of us. I am grateful to this seminarian for helping me see a place of growth for myself. It isn’t helpful to judge others or myself based on one mistake or oversight. Rather, let me commit to look past judgment to other pieces of the story, to the places where I can support  growth — my own as well as others…Betsy