Montana Politics

Support for refugees draws 1000 in Missoula

On the first day of March under gray skies on a cold day, folks from around the valley gathered in support of refugee resettlement in Missoula.

It’s hard to do a head count when people are all bunched together in a park but 1000 seems accurate.

Seniors, students and families — many faces, some familiar, most not — came together in solidarity with Soft Landing, the organization promoting relocation. Those from the Middle East who have suffered the carnage of relentless war were the focus of this event. Soft Landing has also assisted refugees from many different countries from around the world.

Anti-refugee protesters — I counted five — were dwarfed by the turnout.

It’s late and I hope to update this tomorrow but for now, here are a few links on Missoula’s rally and others held around the state.

Missoulian reporter David Erickson did a nice write up on the event here. Kurt wilson supplied the photos for the piece.

Here’s the story out of Helena that the Independent Record is running.

The Billings Gazette has a story which I didn’t read because of the obnoxious pop-up survey you have to answer to get to the copy. Since The Last Best News doesn’t have those nasty pop ups, I’ll gladly link to a fine piece on the Billings rally by Ed Kemmick.

Nothing yet from the Bozeman Chronicle. I hope someone reports from there. A nice woman from Bozeman sent me this:

I’m not sure how many people were there. I would guess 50 to 100. We heard faith leaders from the Valley speak on the value of racial diversity and tolerance, then lit candles in solidarity.

And nothing from the Daily Interlake.  Here’s the Interlake storyI await (Here are) words and pictures from James Conner’s Flathead Memo.

And here’s the backstory for those not up to speed.

All-in all, the Missoula rally made me proud.


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  • Won’t answer the stupid Gazette’s question? Come on Pete, find a better excuse than that.

    “About 75 people in Billings on Tuesday stood in support of those displaced in the refugee crisis on Tuesday.”-Gazette

    • It’s not an excuse, Swede. Don’t you find those pop-up surveys extremely annoying? Maybe you get the dead tree addition edition (whoops) and don’t have to deal with them. Anyway, thanks for the info. Actually, 75 people for a Billings rally ain’t that bad, and a post at the Last Best News pegs the number at 90.

  • When i look at Mizzo’s little gathering it reminds me of the movie “Independence Day”. Especially the scene where all the oddballs climb to the top of the sky scraper to welcome the aliens with their cute little signs.

    Then of course, the spaceship blows them all to hell.

    • To LK: Don must just be a nicer, more tolerant guy than me because he hasn’t outright banned you, as I suggested. But I figure because they’re my posts, I can delete any comment I want, so that’s what I’m doing.

      It’s not your subject matter, Larry, it’s the relentless tirades that disrupt comment threads. Why do you think you’ve been banned at every blog site I can think of?

      I made a friendly suggestion a while back suggesting that if you just toned down the rhetoric and reined in the number of comments to a few to each post, you could hang around. Obviously, it fell on deaf ears so, adios.

          • You don’t speak Spanish? How can that be in this day and age? We spoke Spanish in this country for nearly three hundred years before English became the official language. St. Augustine, remember from your history books?

            But sorry for the Spanish link. I was reading about the murder of Berta Caceres. I was devastated that the corpos murder this amazing woman. And yes, the necons are right in there, along with their school of the Americas. That is why I can’t vote for shrillary. I say let’s all vote for trump and get the party started while there’s still some environment LEFT in the world. The neocons and the Chinese are doing their best to destroy Honduras as we speak.

  • Pete – one of my friends just forwarded this link to me. You should attend. I am in Billings most of that week so I will miss it. It would make a good follow-up to your current post.

    City Club Missoula Presents:
    Refugee Resettlement: What Missoula Should Know

    Featuring speakers Mary Poole, a founder of Soft Landing Missoula, and Wilmot Collins, who settled in Helena as a refugee fleeing Liberia’s civil war

    Monday, March 14, 11:30am-1:00pm
    at the Doubletree Edgewater

    • My City Club friends tell me it would be a good idea to pre-register to attend. They said the February City Club program was packed and they had to turn people away at the door who hadn’t signed up in advance to attend. They expect this one will be sold out as well based on the topic and strong sentiment on both sides of the issue.

  • Dean of the Montana Senate Fred Thomas panders for the powerful.
    HIs anti-Syrian refugee letter to 55 MT Legislators, was mailed out only a few days after Congress started top down resistance to refugees, THREE MONTHS AGO.
    There’s strength in numbers. His Ravalli County turned out half as many people as did Missoula County, to demonstrate about war victim refugees coming into the USA.
    Oh, look at the obvious. It was a lot more than just hate speech in the gymnasium of the middle school. It was church inspired anti-religous hate speech in front of five sitting in silent approval Ravalli County Commissioners.

  • Read in the local newspaper what local Christian community leaders, and
    LTE’s have to say.

    Read about how Ravalli Commissioners get to decide where a new septic tank permit will be allocated, in what we used to call the floodplain of the Bitterroot River.
    Read between the lines how the Ravalli County Commissioners could have continued with their meeting about drafting the refugee letter. And when time for public discussion, Commissioners could have asked for participation from those in the conference room.

    But oh no, almost by pre-arrangement the crowd moved half a block away to the middle school. KPAX and KECI TV on the scene.

    Almost by pre-arrangement five Ravalli County Commissioners sat in silent approval of two hours of 50:1 demonstrated protest against refugees especially Muslim refugees.
    In ranking order, our very conserative Republicans spoke to much applause. At times, maybe for applause. A church leader offered to help lead the cause.

    In short. It was not a public demonstration.
    It was reality TV in Ravalli!

    • Read also in the less local but still very good newspaper, with one half the circulation of the Star. Tap on the opinion bar.
      For a bit of perspective, Ravalli has an established one party county government system. Five Commissioners who often vote 5-0. Ravalli has two generations of history and tradition of USA style far right beliefs and practices. Reportedly more tea party people from Ravalli, than from around Choteau, showed up at the alternative Choteau shrimp feeed FUNDRAISER!

  • Deleting LK comments?
    Sounds more like ADIOS LK !
    I wish you both would have agreed
    to a post limit number per Column.

    • Yes, I am deleting them, Bob. Just at my posts, though, not Don’s. I tried reasoning with LK, even said I’d help him set up his own site, but he would have none of it.

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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