As Trump tries to create fear and hate surrounding refugees coming to the U.S., Helena elects a Liberian refugee as Montana’s first black mayor.
Wilmot Collins, a progressive who unseated a 16-year incumbent, became the first black mayor in Montana history. A year ago, Trump easily won Lewis and Clark County, the home of Helena, while sweeping Montana by 21 points against Hillary Clinton.
Collins came to Helena 23 years ago as a refugee from Liberia, escaping a civil war. He and his wife left the country, “starving, dehydrated and sick.”
Since coming to America, the 54-year-old member of the Navy reserves became a child protection specialist with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. He and his wife have a son at the University of Montana and a daughter in the Navy.
“Coming here provided me a second chance. A second chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That second chance provided me family,” Collins said earlier in 2017, after Trump acted to curtail refugees from coming to the United States. “There isn’t any evidence of refugees in the United States of America actually committing terrorism acts. When we label refugees as that we are lying to the world. We are lying to the public.”
The U.S. has long been viewed as a coveted destination for refugees from all over the world hoping to start new lives free from political and economic violence. But in the past days and weeks, Trump has moved to power up his hate campaign against refugees and immigrants.
Following the terrorist attack in New York City last week, Trump lashed out on Twitter by saying that Democrats were letting terrorists into the country with immigration programs.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Meanwhile, Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly has sociopathically urged the president to adopt a long-term policy of letting zero refugees into the United States.
In Montana, that message of hate isn’t resonating. “The country is still not what Mr. Trump wants it to be,” Collins told HuffPost.