The New Americans Celebration is one of our favorite events each year, and last year it was one of the last in person events we had. Faced with a different reality this year, the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA) prepared for a virtual week of action, with a webinar to kick us off.
Over 200 people joined us on Monday as we heard from new Americans who are contributing in various ways in their communities. Senator Kimberly Jackson gave an opening benediction and also recognized our event and the contributions of new Americans in the Senate Session on Monday, February 8th.
We heard from several new Americans about the work they are doing as frontline workers, business owners, and civic leaders. Dr. Aziz shared about his experience managing a team that has been providing COVID-19 tests and vaccines for the Clarkston community. Jaime Rangel from Forward.US talked about the impact new American youth make in Georgia, including action items around tuition equity, while Victoria Huynh from CPACS discussed the contributions new Americans made in the 2020 elections through their Civic Engagement. Shaista Amani is a business owner and shared her experience during the pandemic in helping fellow new Americans while operating her business. Throughout the webinar, CRSA Chair Jim Neal and Inspiritus Refugee and Immigrant Services Director Aimee Zangandou shared facts and numbers around the many contributions new Americans make in Georgia. They also introduced the CRSA Annual Report, which provides a greater illustration of the collective impact the CRSA and new Americans as a whole make in our state.
The event kicked off a virtual week of action, with a focus area each day. New Americans were highlighted on social media each day, including New American Pathways client Khadija Barati. We collectively made a huge impact! Over the span of four days, 3,514 emails were sent and 136 phone calls made to various elected officials in Georgia.
It’s not too late to learn about these issues and to take action. Check out the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies Facebook Page for links to ways you can take action, as well as amazing stories of new Americans. We didn’t let the pandemic slow our momentum down as we work towards a more welcoming Georgia, and we are so grateful to everyone who joined us in making this week so successful.