Happy Thanksgiving to our Living on One family! We feel so appreciative to be a part of this unique community of curious and thoughtful people. It’s amazing.
This week we’re exploring a story that’s rarely talked about — the life of a refugee after they’ve found a new home in the U.S. This year, 22,491 newly-resettled refugees will be experiencing their first Thanksgiving as Americans. As you may have seen in our documentary Salam Neighbor, many escaped from danger, war, or long stays confined in refugee camps. While securing a safe, permanent home is an important first step, helping refugees not only adjust, but integrate into their new communities is the critical step in a successful resettlement process.
Welcoming Refugees to the Table
Last weekend, we joined Miry’s List for a Friendsgiving celebration that brought together refugees and local families from across Southern California. The theme was “food that reminds you of home” so there were plenty of Thanksgiving classics and delicious dishes from Syria and Afghanistan. Food is always one of our favorite ways of experiencing new cultures, and this was no different.
The whole experience felt easy. No matter their background, kids played together and the adults sipped lemonade while brainstorming ways to avoid LA traffic.
These events are core to Miry’s List goal of helping newly-resettled refugees adjust to their new life in the US. They collect donated goods, give English lessons and career counseling, and host delicious events like this one around LA. Here’s a list of future events.
Talking about Refugees this Thanksgiving
At this point, the challenge of controversial Thanksgiving conversations is well-known. Everyone has “that uncle”. With anti-refugee and anti-asylum-seeker rhetoric at an all-time high, there may be some opportunities for respectful dialogue over the coming holiday. First, remember the power of human stories behind the policies. People often fear what they don’t know, so sharing stories like Ismail and Raouf from Salam Neighbor, or Rehab in this new video can go a long way. And when in doubt, there are facts you can rely on, like
- The refugee resettlement program is by far the most vetted population entering the U.S. You can read about the full process in the NY Times, or watch this short video from Homeland Security.
- Not one Syrian refugee has committed a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, in fact, according to a new study by the Cato Institute, the likelihood of being killed by a refugee in the U.S. is one in 3.64 billion.
- Accepting refugees is a proven economic boost, rather than a burden
We hope you all have a happy and fulfilling holiday! And if you have any good debates, please make sure to email us to let us know how they went 🙂
- Read: I Spent 30 Days in a Syrian Refugee Camp, Here’s What Trump is Missing [Chris Temple]
- Watch: Salam Neighbor – on Amazon, Vimeo, Youtube Movies
- Share: Our Thanksgiving Video with the people you’re spending Thanksgiving with
- Give: Support the Incredible Work by Miry’s List
Chris & Zach