This story inspired me and touched my heart. It tells about the amazing accomplishments of the man who serves as mayor of the capital of Montana. Not only is Montana my home state, but it also holds the distinction of never before having a black mayor since it became a state. Read more here: “How a refugee turned mayor seeks to transcend politics of divisiveness” (Christian Science Monitor). Photo credit: CSM Melanie Stetson Freeman-Staff
About Wilmot Collins
Wilmot Collins’ back story includes escaping the civil war in Liberia, only to end up homeless in Ghana. Further, he lacked permission to join his new wife in the U.S. After a miracle connection, he began the arduous process of completing the bureaucratic hurdles to come to the United States.
Now almost 25 years later he is the mayor of Helena, Montana (his part-time job). But he also serves as a child protection specialist in his “day job.” In addition, he holds leadership positions in the community– coaching soccer, singing in his Methodist church choir, serving on the board of the United Way, joining the National Guard.
Hope in Diversity
Wilmot Collins stands in stark contrast to the voices of hatred who shout their resistance to allowing immigrants into our country as we have for generations. I have written about diversity as a hope for the future and love as a public ethic. Collins’s visibility and accomplishments demonstrate hope in the potential of immigrants.
These people give back to their communities in gratitude. They “channel their fortitude forged by tribulation into education, community work and public service.”
Regardless of heated conversations, hateful slurs and unrealistic fears of immigration, we need not worry. Instead, think about Wilmot Collins’s love and enthusiasm for his new country. He “has overcome a tumultuous past and is trying to make the most of his future in an adopted land.” I also appreciate the Montana residents who volunteer with loving hands to welcome immigrants from African and Middle Eastern countries. Their actions out-shine their critics.