Newsletter 11, 10/20/2016


I always think that I can make these things short, and then the list of exciting things piles up and the list of “thank yous” is fabulously never ending!  I am so so grateful for the hundreds of people that came out two answer both of our calls last week- first to demonstrate and show that Missoula is a community of inclusion that believes in freedom, compassion and opportunity for others! Eamon Ormseth and all of SALAM, thank you for organizing this!  You are brave and incredible and we stand behind your efforts. And secondly to create a “cars down the street, can hardly get in the door, standing room only” situation at Imagine Nation Brewing last Saturday night for our mid-way Crowdrise fundraising party where we raised a little over $3,000 in one night! If you guys haven’t been to Imagine Nation Brewing yet or haven’t met the owners- Fernanda and Robert- you need to! This is so much more than a brewery with incredible beer- they have created a community space for open dialogue and transformation and have been very generous and encouraging supporters of SLM from the beginning. They DONATED a pint for every contributor to the campaign that came to the party and let me tell you this was A LOT.  Missoula – you are AWESOME!

We have some really great new events coming up!

On November 1st from 6-8p in the Urey Lecture hall on UM Campus, we are putting on our second lecture in our “Soft Landing Missoula Presents!” series. We will be taking a closer look at refugee resettlement in Missoula. You will learn basics about the global refugee crisis, the resettlement process and what this looks like for Missoula.  In order to have a conversation about refugees, we need to be aware of how the process works. We have found that this basic information can be hard to find and even trickier to understand. Molly Short Carr (IRC) and I will be presenting on this information, and Wilmot Collins will be sharing his story of fleeing from Liberia and finding a new home in the Big Sky. If you haven’t had a chance yet to meet Wilmot and hear his story, he is amazing and we are so honored he will be joining us for this event. Following our speakers a question and answer period will take place, moderated by School of Journalism dean Larry Abramson.  We hope to have a full hour for audience questions and want to create a safe and open forum these questions.  To do this, we will be asking for people to submit their questions in writing for the moderator to read outloud.  Last month, we PACKED a 300 seat theater and had to turn many people away.  We will be using the Urey Lecture hall on UM Campus for this event and will hopefully be able to accommodate everyone there.  Please join us and check out the poster below for more info!

We have also been invited to participate in Council on the Radio next Wednesday!  On September 26th from 8:30- 10a on News Talk Radio KVGO 1290 you can listen in via radio or on the live stream online.  This should be a good show- Molly Short Carr from the IRC and I will be the guests and there will be opportunity to call in with questions about the content or about how you can get involved in the various opportunities and events we have going on!

Let’s talk about our Crowdrise Campaign a little!  We will be going till November 4th, but don’t delay! Have you been meaning to make a donation to our inspiring crowdrise campaign, but haven’t gotten to it yet? Today is the day! We have an amazing donor who has offered to match all gifts given for the next four days up to $1000. Give by Sunday and your impact will be doubled! We are blown away everyday by our community’s incredible generosity and support. Help us keep the momentum going – we can do this people!  Donate here and help us get this match, and remember to SHARE our campaign to keep the love going. 
Also, watch our new short video here, featuring the amazing Nancy de Pastino!  We are so so so thankful for our new friends Ryan Seitz and Bryan Bello for editing this footage and making this awesome clip!  
This campaign will make sure that we not only have many more opportunities for educational events such as our lecture series, but will also add a new level of bringing people together in our new Community Resource Center. You are all invited to an “office warming” party on November 6th from 1-4p at our new location (to be announced in a later email) to check out the space and hear about upcoming opportunities!

Many many people have also been donating household and clothing items and we are so grateful.  We are especially thrilled that we found two amazing volunteers to take on the time-consuming process of inventorying and organizing all of these things!  Thank you Irene and Heather!!!  Here is a reminder about donation hours and location:

Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 5-7p – 800 South Ave.
– the graciously donated storage containers are located in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and are open and staffed during these times only.

Check out the end of this email for ideas on current needs or visit our website to read about “kits” that you can make with your family, friends, class or congregations! A note about clothing:  We don’t want to become a thrift store and are currently only accepting seasonally appropriate clothing such as coats, sweaters, boots, hats, gloves and long underwear. If you have any questions, you can email Heather here.

Whew!  You are all amazing and in the hard and sometimes heartbreaking work that Soft Landing Missoula is doing, we are continuously lifted up by this incredible community.  We are also inspired by our new residents, who continue to show us what it means to work hard to achieve a better life for your family and to open your arms to new people and new cultures.  As Robert put it at our party last Saturday- We aren’t here to “save” refugees, they are here to “save” us. They show us how to get past all of the divisive politics and misleading and scary rhetoric.  They show us humanity and love and community. Let’s continue to learn from each other, support each other and spread kindness and an excitement for what our lives can be together.