As with so many of you in our community, across the state, and around the nation (and sheesh! THE WORLD), we have been horrified at what is going on with family separation and detention of children on our southern border. There is not much I can say that has not yet been said about it, but I did want to touch on a few things.
One- We have an incredible community with a lot of people who care about this issue. We were so honored to partner with Missoula Rises, Montanans for Immigrant Justice, and the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center to host a Lights for Liberty vigil in Missoula and also be a part of 7 cities around the state, and over 700 around the world that not only expressed our outrage, but also demanded action from our elected officials. We have posted some great photos of the evening and ways you can KEEP ACTING so it doesn’t just stop there. It is hard to imagine that this has now been going on for well over a year and only seems to be getting more dire with recent efforts by the administration to make asylum completely unavailable at our southern border. Yes, this will probably be blocked by a judge, but if you remember, so was family separation and it is STILL happening! We have all got to dig deep and make the call, then call again.
Second- Have you noticed the (small but mighty) change we have made to the wording of our mission? Last winter, during our annual board meeting, we all arrived at the realization that we have never closed our door to anyone seeking our services, and in that way we had already been holding a place in the community for refugees as well as other immigrants, including those seeking asylum. In fact, interesting SLM trivia, we have had the honor of serving asylum seekers before refugees even arrived in Missoula. We feel like there is no better time to announce this change in wording and honor all of our work and all of the community members we serve by the addition of “and Immigrants” to our mission. At this moment, this does not mean an expansion of services that we offer, but that our doors will remain open to all immigrants and English Language Learners who seek our existing services. To further explain and give context for this addition in wording, we are sharing a letter from the Soft Landing Missoula board with you. I feel blessed to have a board that so closely shares the staff’s vision for this organization. Thank you board!
Lastly- We have got to keep celebrating! This is just as important as the rest. Refugees and immigrants fill our lives with richness and bring with them experiences, culture, and a resilience we would not otherwise know. We are getting excited for all of the events we and others are planning for Welcoming Week (Sept 13-22) and are bringing back our SUPPER CLUB for the month of July! Maybe it is by attending one of our many events, maybe it is through a small shared experience with a new neighbor you know, or maybe it is through taking 20 Eritreans to the lake for a day of fun (Andi- WE LOVE YOU!), but we all need to remember to celebrate.
In love and gratitude,
July Supper Club
We took a little break this spring, but we are back with a July Supper Club at Masala! We are so excited to feature our newest Iraqi neighbor, chef Suhad Munshid!
Join us at Masala on July 28th at 5:30 pm for this amazing meal.
Click below to view the menu, more details, and reserve your spot. Act fast—reservations only and the seats go QUICKLY!
You guys already know Hanan for her incredible cooking and near-famous Butter Chicken, but did you know that she has been an essential welcomer for refugees coming to Missoula? She is incredibly generous with her time, volunteering to translate and make sure Arabic speaking refugee families have access to all our community has to offer and advocate for them so no one falls through the cracks. She is a true friend and a large reason that these families are thriving here in Missoula. Thank you Hanan!
Opportunities and Events
>> Help Soft Landing raise $250 for swim lessons! We have been working with a local swim instructor since last winter who is voluntarily providing swim lessons to refugee students. Please help us cover the cost of pool rental and equipment so that we can keep the fun (and important instruction!) going!>>
>> Have you been tutoring English for a while and want to step up your game? Or maybe you are new to teaching English Language Learners but are excited for the opportunity to teach at home or abroad. Either way, this TESOL class is for you! Learn more!>>
>>ELI is looking for host families for the afternoon of July 27th from 2-7. This is a minimal commitment to have a lot of fun and get to share our great city with high school visitors form Japan! Learn more.>>