Art — Change

“Art is such a powerful vehicle for change.” ~RAICES, a Texas Immigration Advocacy Organization

Dear friends,
This week, two California professors installed pink seesaws at our southern border. The images of children playing and families laughing contrasts sharply with previous images we have seen from the border. The headline reads “we are all connected”. This story is a great learning tool for us in so many ways. How simple it is to transform violence into something beautiful. It only takes us to participate. We cannot be mere spectators. And any gift we have to give can work to power change, especially in concert with the gifts of others. Each side of the seesaw must act in order for it to work and the action of each side impacts the other. Likewise, each of us has a part to play in a world that is all connected. And every thing we do — for good or bad — has an impact on others. The Alternative Energy Resources Organization is encouraging us to eat one local food each day during August. I’d like to challenge us further to find one act of connection we can do each day to transform the violence of our world. I’m going to start today by writing a note to someone who is going through a tough time. What can you do?…Betsy

Friday, August 2, 5-8:30, JRPC. Join us for First Friday with our own intern, Jessica Jewell. Jessica is a local artist with a passion for the environment. She looks to Nature for inspiration and wisdom which are reflected through her paintings. Through art, she seeks to rekindle our relationship with our beautiful planet!

We Stand on the Shoulders

“If we stand tall, it is because we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors.”
~African Proverb

Dear friends,
Nelson Mandela reminded us of how important it is “…to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” The road we face today is laden with ruts and rocks — obstacles to the world we want. To any one of us, the obstacles may be unbearable. But together, it is a different story. We know we have much to be grateful for at JRPC. We stand on the shoulders of some pretty amazing founders and guardians, and we want to acknowledge them and their contribution to our journey.

This year marks our 25th year owning our storefront on the “Hip Strip” and I continue to marvel at the foresight of those who gave us this gift and to rejoice in being part of this great community of businesses and residents. We invite you to share in our celebration on Tuesday, July 23 from 4-7 pm at the Gild (check out the details below).

We are also planning a July 31 reunion of the folks who have served us as board members over our 33 years. We unfortunately don’t have contact information for some of the 120+ folks on our list. So if you helped steer this organization as a member of the Coordinating Council and haven’t heard from us, please call us at 543-3955 or send me an email. Let’s celebrate the people and passion of the past and join together to raise the bar a little higher…Betsy

Tuesday, July 23, 4-7 pm, The Gild. Join JRPC for a celebration of our 25 years on the Hip Strip. A suggested donation of $25 includes snacks and 2 drinks. Jesse Dee will play music from 5-6:30 and everyone who comes will be entered into a raffle for a basket filled with goodies from our generous Hip Strip neighbors. Of course, you can purchase extra raffle tickets or items off the Gild menu. Thanks for celebrating with us!

Lights for Liberty

The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
~Pablo Casals

Dear friends,
Love does not stop at borders; it transcends them. Tonight Missoula will be joining

Artist: Ben Wild Flower

hundreds of cities around the nation and across Montana to call for an end to child and family detention at the border. In partnership with Montanans for Immigrant Justice, Missoula Rises and Soft Landing Missoula, we invite you to join the Lights For Liberty Vigil to express our horror at the conditions in the detention center and the deaths of 7 children in America’s custody. Violence is not only what we do or say. It is also what we allow. The most vulnerable need us to educate our minds, open our hearts and raise our voices to protect them. Tonight, let us join together in solidarity with the world. And tomorrow, let us find our path to action…Betsy


Friday, July 12, 7:30 pm, St Paul’s Lutheran Church (202 Brooks). Close The Camps Rally in conjunction with the national Lights for Liberty — Stand to voice our horror over the situation on the southern border- specifically in relation to detained children. Join with others in Missoula and around the nation. There are rallies planned for all across the country, including Helena and many other cities. For a listing near you, visit

“We change the world when we meet the needs of another.” ~Kristin Welch

Dear friends,
My husband and I have enjoyed hosting new friends from around the world through several wonderful programs in Missoula like the Mansfield Center, The English Language Institute, the International Choral Festival and the Missoula International Friendship Program. And I know there are many other opportunities for us in Missoula to connect with the world. These encounters give us a chance to learn about the world and to share the things we value. We learn to be humble in the face of the trials endured by others and grateful for the gifts we have. I know our lives are enhanced because we see the world through a larger lens. I am so grateful to count among my friends the people I have met in SE Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Eastern Europe and other places. Today’s news is full of posturing for another war which saddens and alarms me. One thing I know I can continue to do is to make friends around the world because where friends exist, enemies cannot. Check out the current needs for hosts in the Action section below. I hope you will consider making some new friends…Betsy


Travel the World Without Leaving Home.
1) Be a host family for the Mansfield Center. Contact Deena  at the Mansfield Center
July 12:14: Global faculty and practitioners in workforce development. Host a pair from two of the following countries: Ethiopia, Algeria, Brunei, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Israel, Uganda, Ukraine, Suriname, South Africa, Ecuador, Myanmar, Latvia, Uzbekistan, Honduras, Albania, Tunisia
August 30-September 1: Students and young professionals studying global environmental issues. Host a pair from two of the following countries: Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Timor Leste

2) English Language Institute Global Engagement Office is looking for community hosts for Japanese high school students arriving in July. Hosts are needed for one afternoon only! Contact Sarah Bortis at or 243-5885

3) International Choral Festivals needs hosts to provide a room with sleeping space for a minimum of two choir members, most meals while they are here, and the ability to provide transport to and from choir events during the festival. If you can be a host, please go to the International Choral Festival website for more information and to sign up. Go to: https://www.

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.