We are so blown away by the love and support we received on #GivingTuesday here at Soft Landing Missoula. We started out with an ambitious $10,000 goal and your generosity blew that goal out of the water. By the end of the day, we received over $10,800 in donations. Your support means our community programming, food entrepreneurship opportunities, resources for the refugee families, and more will be even stronger in 2018.
We can’t thank you enough for everything you do to make our welcoming community possible.
If you missed the Congolese performance during Welcoming Week, you can catch it on MCAT Channel 189 on Friday, October 27 at 5 pm. You can also stream the play with MCAT’s Video on Demand at www.mcat.org at any time.
Many of you tasted the delicious cultural dishes at the Farmer’s Market this summer. Because of your amazing support for these endeavors, Soft Landing has decided to officially kick off our “United We Eat” supper club!
We will have more exciting information to share in the next few weeks. The first supper club will be in December – stay tuned!!
If you have any interest in hosting an event – small to large- to feature food cooked by refugee families, please let us know!
Soft Landing Missoula (SLM) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are organizing Missoula’s first annual Welcoming Week from September 15 – 24, 2017, offering a rich calendar of community events. In tandem with thousands of other organizations and communities nationwide, SLM and the IRC hope to inspire and celebrate welcoming all people to the Missoula community during this weeklong celebration.
Join SLM, the IRC, and other partners, including the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, SALAM, Montana Women Vote, The Montana Human Rights Network, The New Neighbors Project and more, for a week of cultural activities!
Saturday, September 16 – Sunday, September 24: Come to the Mansfield Library’s main floor for an exhibit about the Missoula residents who have been working directly with refugee families. Learn their stories and how you, too, can make an impact. The exhibit is open from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily and will close on Sunday, September 24. Admission is free and open to families!
Saturday, September 16: Join Soft Landing’s Eritrean families from 9 – 11 a.m. at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 301 S 6th St W, Missoula, MT 59801, for a traditional coffee ceremony, which involves hand-roasting, grinding of the beans, and brewing of strong coffee before enjoying a delicious cup sitting in front of a traditional serving table. Come learn a bit more about Eritrean culture and get your coffee fix! Admission is free with a suggested donation to benefit the participating families.
Sunday, September 17: The Congolese families return to the stage for their second theatrical production in Missoula! Come to the Sentinel High School from 3 – 5 p.m. to see their latest production that will focus on Congolese culture, music, and dance. There will be a Q&A with the performers following the play. Admission is free with a suggested donation to benefit the participating families.
Monday, September 18: What spice do Syrians like in their coffee? How do you say “delicious” in Arabic? What stringed instrument do Iraqis play? Meet, greet and compete in Missoula’s first Culture Quiz, sponsored by SALAM (Standing Alongside America’s Muslims). Test your knowledge of new Missoulians’ cultures in a Jeopardy-style trivia game, followed by potluck dessert and table games from Iraq, Syria and other countries in the region. Come to the parish hall at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 130 South 6th St. East, at 7 p.m. Bring your friends and your favorite dessert dish!
Tuesday, September 19: Visit the Missoula Art Museum, 335 N. Pattee St, Missoula, for the final showing of the Hmong culture exhibition, “From Flower Cloth to Story Cloth: Hmong Textiles in the MAM Collection.” Drinks and light snacks will be provided at 4 p.m., courtesy of The Good Food Store. Admission is free and families are welcome!
Wednesday, September 20: Pick up your phone and call your government representatives! Soft Landing Missoula, the International Rescue Committee, Montana Women Vote, the Montana Human Rights Network and many other partner agencies around the state are joining together to call our government representatives to express our support for refugee resettlement. In Missoula, supporters will be gathering at the Montana Women Vote office at 725 W Alder St #21 from 6 – 7 p.m. This is part of a statewide effort that will be bringing many groups from across that state together to make these calls during the week. Contact Montana Human Rights Network to find out more information about what will be going on in your area. From home, read this post to learn more about issues, which calls need to be made during Welcoming Week, and read suggested language for your call.
Thursday, September 21: Join the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center at the Roxy Theater at 8 p.m. to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace with the award-winning film, Rooted in Peace. This film features interviews with some of the world’s most intriguing thought leaders like David Lynch, Mairead Maguire, Pete Seeger, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many more.
Saturday, September 23: Iraqi and Syrian chefs will partner with the chefs at Caffe Dolce to serve specialty dishes all day. You can also catch the famous Wow Falafel food stand on the patio! A portion of the sales of these dishes will go directly to the chefs. Grab your lunch or dinner at Caffe Dolce; you might want to make a reservation. This is going to be a truly delicious and special event!
Sunday, September 24: Get a sneak peak of the upcoming documentary, The New Neighbors Project upstairs at The Elks, 112 N Pattee St, at 5 p.m. This innovative project gives refugees a chance to tell a story from behind the camera. Watch previews of refugee-directed short films, which will be featured in film festivals around the county including Missoula’s Big Sky Film Festival. Ranging from a little girl’s fairy tale of rescuing her best friend from an evil king, to a man’s story of his struggle for education and life in a refugee camp; these films often flip traditional media narratives on their head as the refugee-directors tell you their own story. Q&As with the directors to follow each clip. Event is free with a suggested donation to The New Neighbors Project.
At each event, participants will have the chance to find out more about how they can get involved with SLM and the IRC and the chance to get a photo taken with a cool “Welcome” sign for our social media campaign. They will also have a chance to record their own immigration story with a friend or family members via the StoryCorp app and Soft Landing’s StoryCorps community. These stories will be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Take a photo of yourself or your team with one of the signs and post to social media with a caption describing how your community welcomes. We also encourage you to highlight the personal stories of immigrants and refugees and their contributions to your community.
Use the following hashtags: #WelcomeWeekMT #WelcomeWeek #IWelcome
If you need caption ideas, here are some suggestions:
Let’s show the world that our communities want to be welcoming to everyone. #WelcomingWeek #WelcomingWeekMT #IWelcome welcomingweek.org
#IWelcome immigrants & refugees because […] #WelcomingWeek #WelcomingWeekMT
Every day more communities recognize that welcoming immigrants is the right & smart thing to do. #WelcomingWeek #WelcomingWeekMT #IWelcome
How will you celebrate #WelcomingWeek? Join the growing movement and attend an event near you! Welcomingweek.org #WelcomingWeekMT #IWelcome
Participate in our Statewide Call Day!
On Wednesday, September 20th, Soft Landing Missoula, the International Rescue Committee, Montana Women Vote, the Montana Human Rights Network, and many other partner agencies around the state are joining together to call our government representatives to express our support for refugee rights and resettlement. From home, read this post to learn more about issues, which calls need to be made during Welcoming Week, and read suggested language for your call. This is part of a statewide effort that will be bringing many groups from across that state together to make these calls during the week. Contact Montana Human Rights Network to find out more information about what will be going on in your area. Pick up your phone and call your government representatives! We are grateful for your support!
Share Your Own Family’s Story in our StoryCorps Community
StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Go to Soft Landing’s Story Corps Community and choose “Join Community” to become part of the official SLM StoryCorps Community, record and share your story, and listen to interviews from other supporters like yourself! These stories will be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
After you have created your profile, you can record your interview by choosing “Add a new interview.” The easiest way to add an interview is to grab a friend or loved one, use your favorite questions from StoryCorps’ Family Heritage questions:
What is your ethnic background? Where is your mom’s family from? Where is your dad’s family from? Have you ever been there? What was that experience like? What traditions have been passed down in your family? Who were your favorite relatives? Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you? What are the classic family stories? Jokes? Songs?
Record your conversation on your phone or on your computer, then upload it on the StoryCorps website. Add the information about you and your interview partner, and make sure you type “Soft Landing Missoula” in the community portion (#8).
There are a lot of events going on in Missoula, and a few in other locations, for Welcoming Week, September 15 – 24, 2017. Helping to show your support for refugees and immigrants by making calls to Washington during this week is one way you can participate right from home–anywhere in the state! Plus, you can log your calls by joining this Facebook event. This will help us know about how many people called statewide.
Thank you to the International Rescue Committee, Montana Human Rights Network, and Montana Women Vote for partnering with us on this!
Call to Action
This week, President Trump is finalizing a plan to use your tax dollars to finance his anti-immigrant policies, all while making devastating cuts to programs such as education, health care, and disaster relief leaving vulnerable families at risk. We know a budget is a moral document that should reflect our values of inclusivity and equality, and we know that we all do better when everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Rather than increasing funds that rip people from their homes, we should be investing in strong families and communities by using tax dollars to support families in need, like those who have lost everything due war or to the unprecedented wildfires destroying Montana communities.
President Trump has also made the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protected immigrants who arrived here when they were children. DACA has allowed over 100 people in Montana attend school, find high wage employment, or enlist to protect our country. Rescinding these protections is not only inhumane, but will have tremendous negative impacts in Montana.
Together, we can make our voices heard to change the flow of money from ripping families apart to funding projects that increase protection for all families.
That’s why we need you to make 3 calls during Welcoming Week, September 15 – 24.
Call 1: Senator Daines: (202) 224-2651 Ask Senator Daines to push the Trump Administration for a robust and meaningful conversation on the refugee cap. Request that Senator Daines actively engage the administration through all means possible to set a cap of at least 75,000 refugees admitted to the US. Let Senator Daines know we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being. We also ask you to urge Senator Daines to vote “yes” on the DREAM Act of 2017.
Call 2: Senator Tester: (202) 224-2644 Ask Senator Tester to push the Trump Administration for a robust and meaningful conversation on the refugee cap. Request that Senator Tester actively engage the administration through all means possible to set a cap of at least 75,000 refugees admitted to the US. Let Senator Tester know we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being. We also ask you to urge Senator Tester to vote “yes” on the DREAM Act of 2017.
Call 3: Rep. Gianforte (202) 225-3211 Ask Rep. Gianforte to push the Trump Administration for a robust and meaningful conversation on the refugee cap. Request that Rep. Gianforte actively engage the administration through all means possible to set a cap of at least 75,000 refugees admitted to the US. Ask Representative Gianforte to vote no on any budget that increases funding for the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Let Rep. Gianforte know we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being.
Charlie has been an amazing Driver’s Ed volunteer for several months! In addition to volunteering on a family mentor team, Charlie also helps our refugees practice driving every Friday. His awesome training has helped many people get their driver’s licenses! Thank you Charlie for everything you do for Soft Landing Missoula!
One year ago, the first refugee families arrived in Missoula from Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, Missoula has embraced families from Iraq, Syria, and Eritrea as members of our community. Soft Landing is so grateful to have been part of this process from the beginning, thanks to our partnership with the International Rescue Committee. We can’t wait to see what the next year holds for SLM, Missoula and our refugee community!
Read more about our year in the Missoulian. Special thanks for such a wonderful article!
Since Soft Landing Missoula’s opened its doors, the Lifelong Learning Center has been one of our most valued partners. The LLC offers amazing resources for language learners in our community and the experience of their staff and instructors has helped support people well beyond learning a new language!
In partnership with Missoula County Public Schools, the International Rescue Committee, and Soft Landing Missoula, the LLC has now graciously created a tutor training course that will benefit volunteers to build a basic level of skills to feel more confident when helping families in learning English. Please see more information about that opportunity here.
We would also like to highlight that the LLC is actively seeking an Integrated English Language/Civics Instructor. Please see additional information here if you are interested.
A huge thank you to our partners at the LLC for their amazing, necessary work!