Month of Action...
So far, mid-June through now has been a month of action. With so much happening on the national and state level, our brains- and hearts- have been busy trying to figure out what is Soft Landing's place in the conversation, and ACTION, surrounding immigrant families being separated at our southern border, increased racial profiling happening across the country and at our northern border- I mean our state folks!, and the travel ban being upheld by the Supreme Court. After thoughtful deliberation, our voice and our thoughts were captured in an op-ed written by our staff and board that was featured in the Missoulian. While using our voices is essential, here are a few of the other things that have happened and are going on that you can join us in getting involved in.
-Montanans for Immigrant Justice is leading the charge on organizing marches and events that we have helped with and attended, with more to come.
-We have signed on to 5 letters with the ACLU of Montana outlining clear and feasible ways that our elected officials can take action to change inhumane federal immigration policies.
-We are sharing information presented by the International Rescue Committee in Missoula that was put together through a grant with New American Economy about the economic impacts and benefits of immigrants in our communities.
-And we continue to work every day to assure that refugees and immigrants in our own community feel welcome and supported in reaching for their dreams- as in the case of Ammar Omar from Iraq and the new catering business, Arabian Cuisines, he recently opened, with a bit of help from us and huge heart and tenacity from him!
Whether participating in a march, writing a letter to the editor and/or our elected officials, supporting the small businesses of refugees and immigrants in our community who after a short time are already contributing to our economy, or any of the other volunteer opportunities that I will list below, there is plenty to do my friends. My final advice, as if you asked!- don't get overwhelmed. Do what you can. Don't let the hugeness of it all paralyze you. Persist. Even if it feels small, you are joining your voice and adding strength to the thousands (probably millions!) of others fighting all across our nation for the humane treatment of families, of people, of human beings.
In love and gratitude,
ps... Save the date for July 29th- our next Monthly Supper Club. More details to come soon and we aren't quite ready to open the flood gates of reservations (the last one filled in under an hour!), but know that it will be Eritrean food at Masala on the 29th of July. Exciting!
Work directly with refugee families in Missoula!!!
One of the most impactful, meaningful, and personal ways you can become involved in creating a welcoming home for refugees arriving in Missoula- from minute one- is to join a Family Mentor team through the International Rescue Committee. More info on how to do this and what is included can be found here. More families are currently arriving in Missoula and the need for volunteer Mentors is HIGH so it is likely you will get placed with an incoming family right away!
Here is an additional look at the perspective of a Family Mentor Team from a Missoulian Op-ed on the 4th of July.
Be a part of the amazing cultural experience that is SLM's Farmers' Market Booth!
We are looking for a couple more volunteers to round out our remaining Saturdays at the Farmers' Market. This is super fun folks with many ways you can be involved; you don't even have to talk to anyone if you don't want, just help us set up, take down, and transport our booth items! or be a Chatty Cathy and operate the till for the morning- your choice!
Are you brave ;) Wanna drive with a refugee student driver?
We have many students currently with Learner's Permits who we are looking to pair with experienced drivers for practice behind the wheel. The folks who have been doing this for us for the last year LOVE it but we have more students than drivers right now. Help us continue the growth of this very successful program that is a HUGE step in refugees achieving self-sufficiency and greater economic and social mobility in Missoula. You must be willing to use your own vehicle. For more info, contact Molly Cottrell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Host Families Needed for Mid to Short term stays for Students attending ELI programs this summer.
The University of Montana's English Language Institute (ELI) is providing two exciting opportunities to become a host family! More information from ELI can be found here.