Written by Garrett Gibbons
I am closely connected to my heritage of immigrant ancestors who fled to America to escape poverty, disease and war. It’s easy for me to see the similarity between my own ancestors and these wonderful, displaced people who have been flooding into Europe in the last few years. My heart has gone out to them, and I wish that they could be welcome in the USA like my ancestors once were.
Seeing that so many people in the world are afraid of refugees, and are filled with misconceptions about what they represent, I jumped at the opportunity to work with other artists and tell these stories to the world. I wish that everyone could see themselves in these refugees’ faces.
We interviewed Elizabeth Gregg as part of our World Refugee Day event. Elizabeth was first connected with the refugee cause through a Facebook post. One of her friends was creating a sponsor circle for the influx of refugees coming to their community of Seattle, WA. After deciding that participation was possible for their family, Elizabeth got involved.
As part of our World Refugee Day Event, we had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Uzma Jafri. She fills many roles, including physician, business owner, medical director, and most importantly, mother of four. It was during the first few months of her fourth child’s life when Dr. Jafri became interested in refugees. During the countless sleepless nights that accompany newborns, Dr. Jafri would watch coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis. Dr. Jafri felt a pull to help those in the crisis.
During our World Refugee World event, we were able to interview Adrianne Coleman, a volunteer who works with English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Adrianne’s journey to help others started in 5th grade, when a young boy from Iran was in her class. This boy didn’t speak a single word of English, and Adrianne saw how difficult it was for him to integrate into the classroom. Adrianne felt that she could help him, and others like him.