May 27th 2017 at Town Hall Seattle
Refugees are forced to flee their home and country due to violence and persecution, and this history continues to inform their perspective for years to come. Hear from a panel of refugees, assembled by The Northwest Immigrant and Refugee Health Coalition (NWIRHC), about the way that the current political climate, and President Trump’s executive orders are affecting the refugee community. The panel will also discuss their experiences, both as former refugees and direct service providers for newly resettled families, as well as advocates for the millions of people who are currently in limbo, hoping to find a safe place for themselves and their families. Finally, panel members will give their perspective on how community members can engage with the issues discussed and turn the information learned in this conversation into action.
"I am not a lawyer or politician. I cannot weigh the pros and cons of immigration’s impact on our economy. What I am is a pediatrician who realizes the importance of parents in the growth and development of a child. I have seen firsthand the devastating impact our current immigration policy has on the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of my patients. "
“As national policy takes a grim turn, we can be a beacon of light by proactively providing a safe haven as well as educating staff and all vulnerable members of our community about their rights and our commitment to the health of one unified community.”
"With discrimination against American Muslims on the rise, we have put together printable cards that highlight your rights. Print and share them in your communities."
"No matter your immigration status, you have rights when you interact with immigration agents or the police. Print and share these cards in your communities."
ACLU Know Your Rights (multiple languages and video availible in link)
The recent national election brought fear to many immigrant families in Vermont. With the increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric, new Americans - refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers were distressed about their future in Burlington, Vermont, and the United States. What was going to happen to them? Would they be safe in America? Would they have to leave? Driven by the real fear she witnessed in her pediatric practice, Dr Andrea Green reached out to Burlington High School to see if she could support the students in feeling safe and welcome. The students of the International Club of Burlington High School were also worried and wanted to do something. The students met together with Dr. Green and their club sponsor, Susan Blethen to talk about these fears and ways to communicate that Vermont is a place where all are welcome. During these meetings and the design process the students strengthened their voice and power to stand up against hurtful rhetoric. They were able to share how Burlington has been a welcoming community; something they wanted to make visible to all.
Picture of their symbol, All Are Welcome drawn by Francoise and Odreille, BHS senior and junior respectively. Graphic work courtesy of Tyler Littwin.
The students created an image of two hands supporting a dove. “This symbol means to spread love and peace, and to embrace everyone without prejudice against one’s background. This is a symbol that represents every immigrant that has come to United States for better life and place to live”, says Radhika, a BHS senior. The dove represents peace and immigration because birds migrate much like immigrants looking for welcoming place to live. The hands show that our community welcomes everyone, protects them, and ensures that they are in a safe place. Although their focus is the immigrant community, the students chose #allarewelcome in English because they did not want anyone of any background, affiliation, or identity to feel excluded. The students hope that our community will freely post their symbol in stores, offices, and homes to show solidarity with the immigrant community. “Our goal through this project is to help refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers live in the United States without fear, and it is also our hope that everyone accepts this symbol for its good cause. Namaste, Napat, Pais, Pas, Chit, Hépíng, Hòa bình, Amakuru”
The International Club of Burlington High School
For immediate release:
Over 50 Washington Organizations Affirm Their Support for Refugees and Immigrants
Seattle, WA, December 1 2016 - In response to emerging reports of hate speech and violence directed at refugee and immigrant communities, over 50 local organizations and community leaders have signed a statement articulating their support of targeted communities. This statement, signed by a wide variety of large and small organizations, reaffirms the organizations and the United States’ historic commitment to accepting and valuing refugees and immigrants.
The statement of support (see attached) was drafted by the Northwest Refugee and Immigrant Health Coalition (NWIRHC), a group of doctors, social workers, educators, resettlement workers, public health practitioners, and community organizers who have been working together since 2011 to improve the health of refugees and asylum seekers in Western Washington.Concerned for their well-being, and in response to harassment and fears expressed by their clients/patients/community, they felt compelled to issue a statement of support for them in the face of a rise of hate speech particularly directed against Muslims, refugees, and undocumented immigrants.
In the words of Dr. Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, a coalition member and the medical director of the Pediatric Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, “It is critical that everyone we serve knows that our organizations treat all people with dignity, respect and courtesy regardless of religion, color, national origin, or race, and that we are a safe and supportive place.”
To learn more about this statement or to find out how participating agencies are working to support and help protect immigrant and refugee communities, please check out the coalition website: www.nwirhc.org or contact Beth Farmer at 206-683-4512 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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