June 20 is observed as World Refugee Day. This year, as the world grapples with an astounding 65 million refugees, the US administration seems intent on keeping out some of the most vulnerable people. Take action and check organization in Portland and abroad that are supporting refugees.

Just two weeks ago, on June 6th, we remembered that on that day,  78 years ago, 937 Jews fleeing violence and persecution set sail with dreams of freedom and safety. When they arrived at the shores of the United States, they were turned away. 254 of them – over a quarter – died in concentration camps.

Images courtesy of HIAS

Images courtesy of HIAS

We must honor the memories of those who died after being denied refuge. We must also acknowledge that the United States risks repeating this dark moment in history. WE CAN DO SOMETHING BUT WE MUST NOT STAND IDLY BY. The story of the St. Louis is a testimony to the danger and injustice of denying refugees a chance at safety.

 

Please take the actions below and check out these great organization!

ACTION!  Sign these important petitions:

  1. Join us in calling on our elected officials to do everything they can to ensure that the US continues to welcome refugees and to oppose actions to restrict, defund, or halt the refugee program. Join us as well as we call on our elected officials to oppose the Trump administration's proposed budget that would cut foreign assistance by 30%. Cutting foreign aid will have life and death consequences for refugees around the world. 
  2. Join UNHCR in calling on world leaders to agree on a more just way of managing the global refugee crisis. Add your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to decision makers that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility.
  3.  The conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan are not new but the refugee and internally displaced populations from these two countries continue to grow. People will continue to be displaced until a peace process can be found. This requires special attention from a high-level senior U.S. diplomatic figure. President Trump must appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Take action now.
  4. It may surprise you to hear that the most displaced group of people this year is not from Syria, South Sudan or Yemen. In the Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 1.3 million people have been displaced by violence there in the past 10 month. The UN can help put a halt to the violence and therefore slow the rate of displacement by investigating the killings there. Read more about the situation in this NY Times op-ed and then tweet US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley: .@nikkihaley the @UN must investigate the killings in #Kasai and the deaths of Michael J. Sharp and Zaida Catalán http://nyti.ms/2rGdbrV

 

SPREAD THE WORD THAT REFUGEES ARE WELCOME

 

Help spread the word that refugees are welcome. Print this sign (or make your own), take a photo and post on social media. Make sure to use the hashtags #neveragain #refugeeswelcome #withrefugees #worldrefugeeday

 

 

SUPPORTING OUR REFUGEE COMMUNITIES HERE AND ABROAD

There are so many ways to support refugees today. Please follow the links below to find out more about wonderful organization that are helping some of the world's most vulnerable people. 

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Portland Refugee Support Group - Helping refugee & immigrant families acclimate to life in America and get to know their community through social support, education, and life skills training. 

 

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Catholic Charities of Oregon - Since the 1940s, Catholic Charities has provided Refugee Resettlement services in the Portland area. Through its Resettlement Program, Catholic Charities assists individuals and families that must leave their home lands due to a fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinions. 

IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization) - IRCO's mission is to promote the integration of refugees, immigrants and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy and inclusive multi-ethnic society. Founded in 1976 by refugees for refugees, IRCO has over 40 years of history and experience working with Portland's refugee and immigrant communities.

 

iACT provides humanitarian action to aid, empower, and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities. Find out more about their latest campaign to support soccer programs for refugee boys and girls and help change a life. 

 

Lighthouse Peace Initiative Corp. (LPI Corp) is non-profit organization dedicated to raising the quality of life for the most vulnerable Syrians living in Lebanon, Greece and Turkey. Our primary programs include medical, food, and educational aid as well as community support. We believe in providing our fellow humans with basic needs and uplifting them through individualized and communal care.