This Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Missoula’s faith communities, churches and the City of Missoula will host their first ever Missoula Together event.

Rabbi Laurie Franklin of Har Shalom explained the genesis of the event.

“Between January and mid spring of 2019 there was a flurry of anti-Semitic leaflets and graffiti that appeared in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley, private residences, the UM campus and actually four churches in town had flyers taped to their doors and windows,” said Rabbi Franklin. “My first thought was let’s not do something that is strictly reactive, so what can we do as a city or community to respond in a positive way to affirm, in my case Jewish identity, but also bias in general.”

Franklin said she contacted Mayor John Engen who suggested meeting with other rabbis in Missoula.

“By that time, the other churches had also been leafleted so we included the pastors in those churches and we met a number of times,” he said. “The mayor proposed that we could have an annual event called Missoula Together to reinforce the fact that we really want our community to value, recognize and celebrate all the segments of the community,” she said. “Whether it’s religious, ethnic, or country of origin, so that’s how Missoula Together was born.”

Franklin said she expects the Missoula Together event this Sunday at Caras Park to be a small event that would grow over the coming years.

“We really just wanted to harness our concern about bias to do something positive and express our commitment and our love for the many cultures and traditions that contribute to Missoula community life,” she said.

According to the City of Missoula’s press release, the event will feature:

Hour 1:

Gamelan procession, Salish welcoming prayer, Congolese Choir, Mayor’s proclamation and community speakers

Hour 2:

Community art project, Jewish History Exhibit tours (Hammond Arcade), traditional Salish children’s games, Highland Pipers, People Bingo, community speakers

Hour 3:

Round dance with drum circle and traditional song, art project, Jewish History Museum tours, Salish children’s games, youth leaders, closing ceremony.

Participating organizations include: Missoula Mayor’s Office, Har Shalom, United Church of Christ University Congregational Church, First United Methodist Church, Grace United Methodist Church, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Empower Montana, International Rescue Committee, Soft Landing, Zootown Arts Community Center, Home ReSource, University of Montana Kyiyo Native American Student Association, Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, Western Montana LGBTQ Center, Urban Indian Health Center, Selis Qlispe Culture Committee, Chabad and University of Montana Hillel International.

Performing groups include: Congolese Choir, Salish Cultural Committee, Kyiyo, Missoula Community Gamelan, Celtic Dragon Pipeband Mini-band.