I have a friend and neighbor to whom I was introduced a few months ago. I met her because a mutual friend knows her and she desires “American” friends to help her learn English and navigate an Alien culture. She seems like a normal, excessively nice, middle-aged single mom with three kids and a heart for people who are hurting. You won’t know until her scar starts hurting that she has a gun shot wound sustained while fleeing war. She is one of the few Syrian refugees who has already been resettled in the United States. She is a hard worker in her job at a warehouse, a dedicated mother to her three ridiculously smart and creative kids, and a great baker.
The thing is… my friend is not an anomaly. There are millions of potential neighbors to all of us that have had to flee the violence in their home. While not all of them can bake a cake as good as my friend, they all bring unique and valuable skills and are an asset to our country. My heart is broken by the fear that is preventing so many from welcoming them with open arms. Refugees go through the most rigorous screening process out of any person trying to gain entry into the U.S. For example, my nine year old friend and neighbor from the Congo had to do blood testing and be grilled by homeland security AFTER the UN cleared her for third country resettlement in order to be resettled in the U.S.
It is a tragedy that so many governors, my own included, are sending the message that fear trumps compassion by refusing to welcome our new friends and neighbors. Therefore, this week’s suggestion of how you can change the world is to tell them we are not Ok with this mess.
Below is a form letter that I sent out to my friends to send our governor in Georgia, Nathan Deal. Please adapt it and personalize it if politicians in your state are perpetuating the fear as well. By silence, we condone their actions.
As a side note, I am praying for the victims of the terrorist attacks around the world and their families. By speaking up on this issue, I by no means intend to minimize the very real pain and fear that they and their loved ones are experiencing.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:5
November 16, 2015
Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
111 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Dear Governor Deal,
I am writing to you as an active Georgia citizen living in _______________. I have to express my anger and sadness over your decision to not welcome refugees from the country of Syria. There are millions of people waiting to come here who can bring an amazing amount of economic power and both skilled and unskilled workers to our state. Furthermore, Georgia is uniquely positioned with 5 refugee resettlement agencies working here, far more than average. Therefore, our state can equip the incoming Syrian refugees to successfully assimilate more than almost any other. If you visit Clarkston, you will see how refugees are an amazing part of our population. Please do not reject people for being from the same country as perpetrators of the very crimes these individuals are attempting to flee.