As we go through this tumultuous time, it is essential to count our wins and take stock of why these wins are so important.
For nearly seven months, Missoula has given an incredible welcome to almost 20 new families from Congo, Iraq, Eritrea, Syria, and Ethiopia. These families have begun to weave themselves into the fabric of our city and the lives of hundreds of Missoulians. They have enriched many of our churches and faith communities, added a global perspective to our public schools, entered our work force, and a few brave souls have even braved our local ski hill!
We have begun to hear the edges of some of their stories: talk of beautiful homes, serene countryside, University endeavors, family and neighbors, and shared food; stories that at times can sound a lot like the life we enjoy here in this cold, sleepy town. These wonderful memories are also colored by other, harder realities that include loss, injury, fear, persecution, and oppression; stories of long journeys on foot at night carrying children and the elderly, and the agony of who and what was left behind. Despite the struggle and suffering, there exists a common thread of perseverance, hope, determination, strength and beauty.
For these new Missoula families, this is not where their stories stop, but where new ones begin. This is where their stories will add to the stories of all of our lives, and those of our children.
With the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Missoula will continue to participate in an American history that has already welcomed hundreds of newcomers to our town: a strong Hmong community as well as wonderful neighbors and co-workers form Belarus and the Ukraine. We will continue to be part of an America rooted in our ability to come together and offer hope and refuge to the vulnerable and persecuted; an America that believes we are at our best when we come from a place of compassion, generosity and opportunity for all; an America that invites diverse new neighbors to join us in building strong communities.
This is no small thing. This privilege has been hard-won. So today, even with the uncertainties of tomorrow, we need to count our blessings and most certainly, count our wins.
– In love and gratitude, Mary Poole
Donations Needed Now
Our homepage features an ever-changing list of needed donations. Here’s the current list:
Pots and pans, especially larger sizes; Tea Kettles and Tea Pots; Baking sheets and other baking items; Bath mats; Floor rugs; Diapers and wipes (all sizes except infant); Quality Men’s and Women’s Shoes Computers, Phones, TVs and other technology (more on tech donations); CARS! We have a few written driver’s test graduates! Donations can be dropped off Monday – Thursday between 10 a.m. and Noon. If you need to arrange another time, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have three amazing interns from the University of Montana joining the ranks of Soft Landing Missoula this spring and winter. Read more!
Join Soft Landing at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
The 14th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival kicks off today, Friday, February 17, and Soft Landing Missoula is proud to be sponsoring a block of short films about political refugees. This block of five films touches on the subjects of global immigration, refugees, and asylum seekers, and screens twice during the festival: Monday, February 20 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, at 12:30 p.m. Screenings are at The Elks Lodge. Admission is $9 ($7 for students and seniors).
Refugee Crisis: A Discussion of Global Importance – February 23rd
Next week, the Montana World Affairs Council will host a community discussion featuring Hayley Smith, founder of Lifting Hands International. She will discuss the causes of the refugee crisis, the distinctions between refugees and immigrants, and share an intimate look at life inside of a refugee camp. Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 pm at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel. Register now.
Pint Night on March 1st
Wednesdays are Community UNite at the Northside Kettlehouse taproom, and March 1st is dedicated to Soft Landing Missoula. Enjoy a fresh beer on tap while supporting our organization! Kettlehouse Brewing Company will donate $.50 from every pint sold between 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. to Soft Landing Missoula, and we will have a table set up to answer questions. Mark your calendar and RSVP on the Facebook event page!
Eritrea: the Country, Culture, and Circumstance – March 8th
We are excited to bring you our third lecture in the Soft Landing Missoula Presents series. Join us on March 8th from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the UC Theater as we explore Eritrea: the Country, Culture, and Circumstance. Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors: the African American Studies Program at the University of Montana, the UM Political Science Department, and Montana Model UN! Please RSVP on our Facebook event page!
Summer Camps: Can you help?
Summer vacation is a wonderful and fun time of year, but as working parents know, finding safe and affordable activities for your school-aged children is no easy task. Soft Landing and the IRC will be working with each of our families to piece together free or reduced cost care for their kids. Do you have a connection to a summer camp or summer activity in Missoula? Can you help us negotiate a scholarship spot at this camp or activity? If you can help, please send an email to email@example.com.