How Do We Stand With Refugees?

by | Jun 20, 2018

This month we’ve been really energized by collaboration, partnerships, and people taking action. There is a growing need to provide more relief resources for refugees around the world. Last weekend, we gathered together with our partners and community in Seattle to watch our film, listen to stories of resettlement and relief aid, and learn how we can make a difference together.

One theme that resonated throughout the morning was resilience. The resilience of children, of fathers dreaming for their families’ futures, of mothers building community in the midst of such heartache and destruction.

As our partners shared about their work providing relief, raising funds for essential resources, and building resettlement programs, Eugene asked: “What encourages you in the heavy work that you’re doing?”

“It’s the resilience of children. The resilience of children is really that hope. That’s what encourages me. They get through incredibly difficult circumstances, and they push through and flourish.” | Sebastian Mathews

Chitra Hanstad echoed his response: “What gives me hope is the resilience of refugees that I get to work with everyday.” 

Listening to stories of refugees, inviting them to your home, learning about their culture and their traditions, using your voice and your vote to advocate for a better future — these are all things you and I can do.

Maher Abed, who was a refugee in Iraq and has resettled in Seattle, shared this piece of advice: “Engage with these families, have some knowledge about them, how they live, their culture. What are their traditions? If these refugee families see that you learned about their culture, and took time to research their traditions, that will mean more to them than if you bring them things.”

The stories of refugees are really heavy; they’ve all experienced trauma and it can be easy for us to remove ourselves from the weight of this reality. So how do we stay engaged and actually make a difference?

“The key is humanizing refugees. They’re people. They’re parents with kids. That is the common theme that unites all of us. Here’s a mom and dad and they want the best for their kids and their future. One hundred years from now, we’re going to look back and ask how could we allow this to happen? Will the excuse be that we didn’t know? That’s what you’re doing. You’re letting people know and forcing people to confront that reality.” | Sebastian Mathews

How to take action

Listen, learn, advocate, give, and invite your own friends, family, and community to be part of this movement with you. As we grow in our own knowledge of the refugee crisis, we have a responsibility to do something with that knowledge. Have tough conversations, invite new people to your home, advocate for political change. You can use your birthday, start a lemonade stand, or create your own fundraising campaign to give towards refugee relief programs. As we collectively work together, we are making an impact.

“What gives me hope? I’m looking at hope right in front of me [to the audience]. Why? The work that is being carried out in the field doesn’t work in isolation from the prayers, thoughts, and support of many people.” | Ken Kim

We want to continue to mobilize this movement to share stories of hope and stand with refugees. Your desire to learn more, advocate for the marginalized, and give to make a tangible difference in the lives of refugees encourages us to keep pushing forward.

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