A Haven and a Home for Refugees

In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees Book CoverEarlier this month, my review of In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees was published online in WOW Review. In the book, author and photographer Susan Kuklin gives voice to five refugees who fled their homes and demonstrated great courage and perseverance to restart their lives in the United States.

If you are someone whose immigrant, asylum-seeking, or refugee ancestors came to the U.S. long ago, I believe Ms. Kuklin’s book will open your mind and touch your heart. I hope reading about these refugees’ life journeys will inspire and motivate you to learn more and take action to ensure hope and sanctuary for all people in search of safety.

Home
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well…

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire was born in Kenya to Somali parents and lives in London. She is a poet, writer, editor and teacher. Please read her entire poem.

From the Perspective of a Privileged Global Citizen
I am writing as a privileged global citizen who believes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 14 states:

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

As a leader in the international community, I am calling on the incoming administration to lead Congress in upholding and further developing U.S. Asylum Law. Under that law, refugees are people who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. U.S. citizens must hold our government and our judicial system to higher standards of ethics and integrity when it comes to the right to seek asylum.

The View from the Southern Border
I live in Tucson, Arizona, sixty miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. As an educator, I have taught refugee students and served refugee families as they resettled in their new homes in Arizona. They are contributing members of our community and deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.

We must continue to offer hope and sanctuary for global citizens who are seeking freedom from danger and harm. The very least we can do is to give people who are fleeing from persecution in fear for their lives their international and U.S. legal right to petition for asylum.

Taking Action
There are several ways you can take action to help refugees in the U.S. and around the globe.

Leveling the Playing Field: The Fugees Family @fugeesfamily
The Fugees Family, Inc. is a non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. Visionary, social activist, and Fugees founder Luma Mufleh began her work with a refugee youth soccer team and tutoring program. She now directs two schools serving refugee high school and middle school students in Clarkston, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio.

After you read Coach Luma’s End of the Year letter, please consider a donation to the Fugees Family as they prepare to welcome students back into the face-to-face classroom where they can make a successful transition to their new lives in the U.S.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) @HIASrefugees
The HIAS slogan is “Welcome the stranger. Protect the refugee.” HIAS was founded in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. “HIAS celebrates 139 years of helping refugees escape persecution and resettle in safety; reuniting families who have been separated; and helping them build new lives in safety and freedom. HIAS continues to resettle the most vulnerable refugees of all faiths and ethnicities from all over the world” (https://www.hias.org/who/history).

On the HIAS website, you will find many ways to take action including advocacy and volunteer opportunities as well as donating to support the organization.

United Nations Refugee Agency @UN_HRC
The USA for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) provides support for refugees around the globe. This organization provides emergency as well as on-going relief to help refugees survive until they can be resettled in new home countries. Donations to the UNHRC are especially needed now when the pandemic and winter conditions are affecting so many displaced persons.

Joining with Amnesty International USA @amnestyusa
As a human rights advocate, I want to live in a country that is a haven and offers a home for immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees.  I join with other supporters of Amnesty International USA’s priorities for the in-coming Biden administration.

Please make time to read “Strengthening Human Rights for All in 2021 – In the U.S. and Around the World.”

And then determine the best way you can take action.

Thank you.

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About Judi Moreillon

Judi Moreillon, M.L.S, Ph.D., has served as a school librarian at every instructional level. In addition, she has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, and district-level librarian mentor. Judi has taught preservice school librarians since 1995. She has taught courses in instructional partnerships and school librarian leadership, multimedia resources and services, children’s and young adult literature, and storytelling. Her research agenda focuses on the professional development of school librarians for the leadership and instructional partner roles. She has published four professional books; the most recent is Maximizing School Librarian Leadership: Building Connections for Learning and Advocacy (ALA 2018). (See the book study on this blog.) Judi earned the American Library Association's 2019 Scholastic Library Publishing Award. She is currently editing and contributing to Core Values in School Librarianship: Responding with Commitment and Courage (Libraries Unlimited 2021).

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