BYU Magazine: "Strangers No More" Article Rated #1 in 2016
BYU Magazine readers rated TSOS founding member Melissa Dalton-Bradford's article titled "Strangers No More" their most popular article in 2016. In her article, Melissa documented the story of the Khan family and their long, terrifying flight from Afghanistan to Germany where she connected with them in a refugee camp:
About the success of her article, Melissa says, "If this type of article resonated with readers, I believe it should be accredited to the Khan family and to the readers. The Khans, with their resilience and cohesion in spite of horror and deprivation, speak to us because we share a human heart. I'm grateful I was able to transmit this story to others and I hope to write many more such stories."
Melissa began working in refugee camps in the Frankfurt, Germany area in the fall of 2015. She continues to be personally involved in assisting displaced individuals in the asylum and integration process. Watch for more of Melissa's articles in 2017 as she continues to share insights and stories of other migrants seeking a safe place to live.
The Khan family and Melissa Dalton-Bradford first connected in a tent refugee camp with over 500 residents an hour away from her home. (Melissa, in the bottom right-hand corner, took this selfie.) The camp has since been closed and the Khans and other residents have been housed in various types of living quarters in communities throughout the state of Hessen in Germany.
The Emerald Project is a Utah-based organization that carefully designs dialogues to engage with non-Muslims to make Salt Lake Valley a more welcoming home to Muslims. As many of our refugee friends belong to the Muslim faith, we applaud opportunities that foster understanding and were pleased to support The Emerald Project’s 3rd annual “Slam the Islamophobia” event on February 15th.
Refugees often risk their lives crossing deserts, jungles, and oceans all in the search for shelter, freedom, or happiness. Yet, even once they’ve reached physical safety, mental mountains emerge that make daily life an uphill climb. At the November 2022 conference for the Utah Chapter of the Society for Public Health Education (USOPHE), presenters Shurooq Al Jewari and Sasha Sloan discussed mental health and inclusion, focusing on immigrants and refugees.
Holidays are an important time to include newcomers. Newcomers are often aching for the traditions and holiday magic they knew at home - and the connections with family and friends. The Garcias* came from a strong family and community that knew generous and giving holiday traditions. I knew, when I met our new friends from Venezuela, the rich bond we would have; this was a kindred spirit family. Even though we have been bad at communicating (Google Translate is such a false hope), it was easy to find connections that helped us love each other.