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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Peacemaking piece by piece

Dear friends,
I have long been inspired by the work of the Missoula Peace Quilters. Not only do they make beautiful, creative pieces of art that we are drawn to, but their work and their quilts are, to me, symbols of our work for peace. Just as a quilt contains many different colors and pieces of fabric – all different sizes, shapes, colors and patterns – peace must include many perspectives, opinions, cultures and experiences. Some of the pieces of fabric in a quilt are treasured and others are scraps but in the quilt they are equal and they each contribute to the beauty of the whole without prejudice. We would do well to view the world with such equality. I know when the quilters sit down to begin a quilt, they each come with ideas and talents. And yet they each come willing to surrender their vision in service to the larger group. They are “peace” quilters because they know what it is to bring disparate pieces of fabric together to make something of beauty that is larger than any individual piece.

The quilters have done their magic in the quilt pictured here and they are generously raffling it off to benefit the JRPC. Let it inspire you as a symbol of the work for peace. Raffle tickets are available at the Center for $5 each or 5 for $20. Call us or stop by to get your chance to own a beautiful example of peacemaking…Betsy

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”  Dieter F. Uchtdorf

You Care – and We are Grateful

Dear peace community,
This year more than any other time, we can see what is really important in our lives, our workplaces and our communities — our connections with each other are the most valuable thing we have. At a time when we can’t see faces or give hugs or handshakes, it is more important than ever to celebrate and appreciate each other. It is after all, the foundation of peacemaking.

Last week, I sent out a letter to our current members letting them know that our annual Peace Party, which we all love so much, is not going to be possible this year. Obviously, we will miss the thrill of being with so many of you. But we will also miss the income generated by the event — $30,000 or more that we use for programming and support throughout the year.

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Facing Our Grief

Dear friends,
How many times do our hearts have to break to be fully open? How “undone” do we need to be to start doing what needs to be done? It is so tempting to hide from the grief and sadness of the world – and some days it is necessary because the grief is just so heavy. But the problems in our world from climate peril to civil rights to racism all need us to keep showing up and to keep breaking open. NPR reported yesterday that “just 36% of Americans said they had taken concrete action to better understand racial issues after George Floyd’s killing [and] white people were the least likely to have done so, at just 30%”. I was surprised and saddened by this number. From my vantage point as the director of JRPC seeing all the BLM posters, buttons, books, shirts and stickers we are selling, it seems like racial justice is all anyone is talking and thinking about. But the world outside my bubble tells a different story. Continue reading

The Journey of Justice

Dear friends,
This week people all over the country marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. We know that this was only the beginning of a long struggle for equality and justice that is still not complete and that many women were left out of that original celebration. We also know that the 19th amendment, though not perfect, was the result of years of work and sacrifice. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and other women had been denied access to the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention in London because they were women. So they organize the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New. Its “Declaration of Sentiments”, demanded that the rights of women as individuals be acknowledged and respected by society, and launched the movement that became the 19th amendment. Only one teenager from the Seneca Falls convention lived to cast a vote 72 years later. But many, including Jeannette Rankin planted seeds and nurtured the work along the way. And it is likely that many grew discouraged as the years passed without sight of their goal. But collectively, each seed, each word, each action moved us forward. And we know the journey is far from over. Whether it is women’s rights, racial justice, anti-war activism or climate action, the work is a lifetime journey and it is up to each of us to carry our unique part.

Join me in celebrating all the lifetimes, past, present and future that step up to the moment and carry us forward…Betsy