Bringing You Stories of Hope and Humanity

Dear friends,
One of the things I am proudest to have been a part of is helping to create a Missoula that welcomes refugees with love. Out of those early meetings, Soft Landing Missoula came to be. And they continue to create that Missoula we all envisioned. JRPC is proud to continue to be part of their annual Welcoming Week celebration each year. This year, thanks to the financial support of Imagine Nation Brewing Company, we are able to bring you the free film, DAY ONE that will make you cry, laugh at times, but most importantly be inspired as it follows the journey of several young refugees as they heal and learn together to overcome trauma and tragedy (more information below). Grab an INBC beer, a Kamoon Arabian meal and…

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The Fr. Jim Hogan Search for Peace Award

Dear friends,

At a time when we all need some good news and some hope in the world, I have some light to share. I’d like to introduce you to three of the young people in our community who are walking the walk to make a difference — three who are living John Lewis’ call to seek out “good trouble”. 

  • Mica Kantor is a leader in the climate protests in Missoula. Often, he and his mom are the only ones out there. And he shows up for many climate-related marches around the state, including the Sunrise Movement trainings. Even though he is just in the 5th grade, Micah is showing that you can stand for what you believe in by just showing up quietly and persistently week after week.
  • Sylvie Aganoti-Tower is a youth leader on EmpowerMT’s Youth Advisory Council and a co-facilitator for their Middle school EPIC group to develop leadership skills. She was an emcee in the community MLK day celebration and  is working to create a BIPOC support group to work for racial justice at her school. She is a positive role
    model to youth and adults alike seeking to understand others and find common ground through knowledge and validation. 
  • Asher Barnes is an 8th grader who has been working for justice and peace for many years, quietly standing up for his peers who are ostracized and not afraid of speaking up for his beliefs and what he believes to be right. Viewed as a leader by his peers, he doesn’t shy away from conflict and even stood up to criticism from a teacher for his support of Colin Kaepernick and the BLM movement. He has helped raise money for efforts in this community and around the world because he believes, “If we want the world to change, we have to work for it.” His example is indeed a model for all of us who want the world to change.

These three young people are the finalists in the Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace award. We will be honoring them on Wednesday, July 29 at 7:50 pm at the Bonner Park Band Shell, just before the City Band begins to play and one of them will receive the Medallion Award. Thanks to Gary Gillett and the band for giving us this opportunity to bring a positive note to our world. Join Fr. Hogan and I (with a mask and some distance of course) on Wednesday for three examples of the best of Missoula’s youth and the music of our Missoula City Band.

See you there, Betsy

Peace Park

On Thursday July 16 Betsy wrote..
I invite you to join me in the peace park at 9 am this Saturday, July 18, to work on clearing some weeds and adding a fresh layer of white cloth so that “peace” shines through clearer. Bring white scraps of fabric (old sheets, towels, rags or ones you can gather from a thrift store), gloves, water and weeding tools and meet me there. Together let’s make peace more visible…Betsy

Speaking of peace signs in the North hills… We are currently searching for a contractor to help us with a project to put a different peace sign back together! If you are or know of a contractor who might be willing to help bring back some Missoula peace community history email us at peace@jrpc.org peace@jrpc.org or call 406-543-3955.

Never Again is Now

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Maya Angelou

Dear Friends,

78 years ago yesterday, on February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This order ultimately led to the forced relocation and incarceration of around 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants, 11,000 people of German ancestry, 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, as well as a number of Jewish refugees fleeing Germany without trial or hearings. Around 67% of those with Japanese heritage were U.S. citizens and many of the rest had spent several decades in the country by 1942. It is important to acknowledge this history and take a stand of never again.

For the project TSURU for Solidarity, never again is now. The goals of TSURU (Japanese for crane) for Solidarity is to educate, advocate, and protest to close all U.S. concentration camps; build solidarity with other communities that have experienced forced removal, detention, deportation and separation of families; & coordinate inter-generational, cross-community healing circles addressing the trauma of our shared histories. This summer TSURU for Solidarity will make a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to close the camps. Standing on the moral authority of Japanese Americans who suffered the atrocities and legacy of U.S. concentration camps during WWII They say, “Stop Repeating History!” TSURU for Solidarity plans to take 125,000 origami paper cranes with them on their pilgrimage and have put out the call to all who want to help them reach this goal.

So, from now until the end of April you can bring paper cranes to JRPC and we will add them to the boxes we will be sending from Missoula. Whether you make 10, 100, or more we will be happy to send them along! Don’t know how to fold paper cranes? You can find lots of great tutorials on youtube or drop by JRPC and we will teach you! If you have any questions about this or have a group that is interested in a larger folding event email programs@jrpc.org or call 406.543.3955 and ask for Carol.

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2020

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth, and compassion against injustice, lying, and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” William Faulkner

Dear Friends,

Its that time of year again. The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is just around the corner and I am so excited about the incredible films we are sponsoring this year. During the 10-day festival (Feb 14-23) BSDFF will present a total of 56 features and nearly 100 short documentaries. The full lineup includes 24 World Premieres and 13 International Premieres. Festival screenings will take place at The Wilma, The Roxy, the Hellgate Elks Lodge and the all new Zootown Arts Community Center in downtown Missoula. Visit their website for more information, to read about the selected films, and purchase tickets.

Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation
Life After Hate, founded by former skinheads and neo-Nazis, supports white nationalists who are seeking to break away from radical movements. HEALING FROM HATE profiles the organization, exploring the root causes of radicalization, and considers what it might take to create a more tolerant world. Screenings: Elks Lodge Saturday, Feb 15th @ 9:00 pm & ZACC Monday, Feb 17th @ 3:00 pm

Colette
Former French Resistance member Colette Marin-Catherine refused to step foot in Germany for 74 years. That changes when a young history student named Lucie enters her life and convinces her to visit the concentration camp where the Nazis killed her brother. Screenings: Elks Lodge Sunday, Feb 16th @ 9:00 pm & Elks Lodge Saturday, Feb 22nd @ 6:30 pm

Objector
Like all Israeli youth, Atalya is obligated to become a soldier. Unlike most however, she questions the practices of her country’s military and decides to challenge her forced conscription. Despite her family’s wishes, she refuses military duty, knowing she will be imprisoned for her dissent. Screening: ZACC Thursday, Feb 20th @ 7:00 pm

A Syrian Woman | Human Stories From Jordan
After nearly a decade of conflict, Syrian refugee women have become some of the most vulnerable amid the crisis. Thousands have lost their families and husbands, and now must provide for their children, alone in an unfamiliar country. Hearing firsthand accounts of the refugee crisis in Jordan, we reflect on what it means to be a Syrian woman. We follow their experiences of survival – from displacement, danger, child-marriage, and trauma, to their resilience and hope to rebuild a better future for their children. Screenings: Elks Lodge Monday, Feb 17th @ 4:00 pm & ZACC Tuesday, Feb 18th @ 1:30 pm

Carol Schwartz