It is a difficult time. Strict restrictions on asylum have been imposed and we are looking at a possible presidential determination in the next two weeks setting the number of refugees allowed in the US to zero or the very low numbers of 10-15,000. World Relief Atlanta will no longer be resettling refugees and so many of its gifts to our community will be lost for now.
But now is not the time to despair. Now is the time to push ourselves to do new and unprecedented things. There is a gift and joy in that. It means coming together as individuals with open hearts and open ears to see how we can be part of something larger than ourselves. It really is that concrete. We can’t fix a very broken system alone, but we can open ourselves to working together in new and innovative ways, and we can grow and thrive from that process. Every connected, loving conversation you have matters deeply, now more than ever. When you have that conversation by prioritizing the needs of others who may not have access to advocating for themselves, well then, you can’t lose.
Despite the difficult news we hear about the state of resettlement, we still have the amazing talents, experience, knowledge and capacities of the staff and volunteers of New American Pathways and other agencies. We need to come together to work collaboratively on advocacy and education. We need to create networks of support for people in Clarkston and beyond through building bridges in multi faith and secular communities. We need to start working now with hope and optimism, creating strategies for still difficult times to come. All you need is an open heart and a little bit of time.
If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to help during this crisis, below are some event opportunities to attend. Come out to one of three area Episcopal Churches that through the help of New American Pathways created A WEEK OF ACTION: advocacy events for folks to write postcards or make phone calls to lawmakers telling them that Georgia cares About Refugees!
Stop Refugee Zero Cap Advocacy Events
Sept 25th 6:15-7:30 pm at All Saints’ Episcopal Church located at 634 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30308. Event in Schaffer room. Join us for dinner beforehand starting at 5pm.
Sept 26th 11:30 am-1:30pm at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 515 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030. Lunch provided
Sept 26th 12 pm-2pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church located at 435 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. Lunch provided.
We have also created an event to honor World Relief and all the agencies, educate the public about what is happening with the federal refugee resettlement program, and provide a community building interactive activity to create strategies for moving forward.
Rally for Resettlement: A Solidarity Event for Refugees and Agencies
Sept. 28th from 2-4 pm at the Clarkston International Bible Church located at 3895 Church St, Clarkston, GA 30021 (snacks and beverages provided)
For more information for these events or to RSVP contact Louisa Merchant at email@example.com or 404-403-5908
Louisa Merchant has twenty years of experience in multi-faith, multi-cultural community building through her work in education, advocacy, direct service, and volunteer coordination in Muslim and Christian communities. Louisa is currently the Director of All Saints’ Refugee Ministries, a program that serves 50 families who came to the US fleeing war. She has Masters degrees in Spanish and Psychology. At All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Louisa and the volunteers of Refugee Ministries work to create healing relationships and networks for building social justice and welcome.