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 https://www.lightsforliberty.org/

We The People

“…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” – concluding words of the Declaration of Independence

Dear friends,

Today we celebrate its 243rd “Independence Day” with fireworks and flag-waving. While there is much to celebrate in the birth of our nation and the ideals of liberty and freedom that are the foundation of our constitution, much of the celebrating has become an exercise in glorifying war – the songs, the armored vehicles on parade, the military shows of strength and glory. War is unfortunately a part of our heritage as a nation, but there is so much more to celebrate, and other ways to serve. As long as we glorify war and perpetuate the view that no other service to country is as honorable or heroic as becoming a part of the military killing machine, we will continue to have wars and our sons and daughters will continue to seek the paths we so glorify.

The closing words of the Declaration of Independence call us to pledge our support for each other as we work together to make this country better. We at JRPC have called this day “Interdependence” day. Instead of glorifying war, let us think about and honor the indigenous Americans we displaced, the countries and peoples around the world we share this earth with, the earth itself and all our fellow creatures, the millions of immigrants that make our country rich with diversity, the neighbors we share our communities with, the civil servants who work hard with few rewards and all the heroes who worked and died to protect the human and civil rights of all of us. Let us celebrate those who serve our country in compassion and generosity – true to the spirit of liberty and justice for all. When I lift my red, white and blue, it will be for all of you…Betsy

There is only love

“Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—we will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.” ~Joy Harjo, first Native American US Poet Laureate

Dear friends,
It seems the US and Iran are on a collision path to war even though public sentiment and reason lean the other direction. While no war is good — they all bring destruction, death and a difficult path to healing — war with the possibility of a nuclear component is certain devastation. 74 years ago next month, the world said, “Never again”. And today, with unending wars we cannot resolve, over 70 million people already displaced by conflict and a national deficit we cannot sustain, those words must ring out loud and far. I echo the words of Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo and bless all those workers for justice and fresh meaning — all those who will see us through. In one week, the nation will celebrate our founding. Let us look as a nation toward love and peace. We are planning to host an event on July 3 to give us a chance to gather in blessing to ring out the words “Never again” again. Please call us or watch our facebook page for details. And let us know your ideas. In the meantime, you can take action by:

“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

 

Action
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 sarah.bortis@mso.umt.edu 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. choralfestival.org/

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.