Watch video: Facts not Fear
March 01, 2017
I feel very lucky to have been born 50 years ago in a hospital in Teaneck, NJ in one of the wealthiest, most privileged democratic countries in the world. Had my birthplace been Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria or many other countries in conflict around the world, my life would have looked very different.
The trauma and violence experienced by Syrians alone is tragic beyond my comprehension and I've watched it without action for 6 years. According to statistics from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, as many as 386,000 people have been killed, including almost 14,000 children. The UN High Commissioner on Refugees estimates that over 4 million people have fled Syria since 2011 (with almost half being children) and millions more are displaced within that country.
Refugees fleeing violence in their homeland are seeking a better life - for themselves and above all, for their children - free from the fear of being killed in their own homes at the hands of their own government. Of the 2.9 million refugees admitted to the United States since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, not a single one has carried out a fatal terrorist attack on US soil. In fact, refugees themselves are the victims of terrorism. As refugee families arrive here in the NY metropolitan area, new and often overwhelming challenges greet them.
It would make me very happy if my friends and family join me in sending a message of welcome to a group of people that is looking to enjoy the same basic human rights we do and who probably look a lot like all of our ancestors who arrived here however many generations ago.
The International Rescue Committee provides assistance to refugees at both an international and local level - providing support to those getting on their feet after arriving here in the U.S. with nothing or to those living under challenging circumstances in refugee camps overseas. Please help them deal with the ever-growing population of refugees during a time when funding is decreasing
For more information from the IRC, both their local and international efforts, copy and paste these links into your browser: