BYU Women’s Conference 2018
Written by Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Continuing their emphasis on humanitarian aid and refugee relief, the leadership of the global women’s organization (or Relief Society) of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) has requested that TSOS supply several of our images and profiles of refugees to be on prominent display at the annual LDS Women’s Conference.
From Thursday, May 3 to Friday, May 4th, the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with be a-buzz with the largest gathering of LDS women anywhere in the world. Over 150 classes and forums will be offered, including an address from Sister Sharon Eubank, who serves concurrently as the first counsellor in the General RS Presidency while still heading LDS Charities, a position she assumed in 2011.
As recently as this January and also at BYU, Sister Eubank underscored her personal belief and boldfaced the Relief Society’s charter that serving others is the essence of true discipleship, and that human contact is the kind of service that everyone can give and everyone needs. As she said in that address given to students,
"If we change our perspective so that caring for the poor and the needy is less about giving stuff away and more about filling the hunger for human contact and about hearing meaningful conversations and creating rich, positive relationships, then the Lord can send us some place. Every single person can do this on his or her own. You don’t need a fund, but it’s going to take some commitment."
TSOS is honored and grateful to have been asked by the General Relief Society Presidency of the LDS Church to contribute to this important international conference. We are proud of our refugee friends who have taught us so much about serving and caring for one another, and hope many conference participants will take a moment to look closely at the TSOS refugee stories display at the Women’s Conference. If more hearts are moved then more good people are moved to action.
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.
On January 25th, TSOS was invited to present to a group of approximately 50 faculty and administrative leaders at Utah Valley University (UVU). Specifically, they wanted to understand how forcibly displaced individuals might arrive at UVU, what types of burdens they might be carrying, and how the university could better support the unique needs of these students. UVU is the largest university in the state of Utah, and its leadership was anxious to discuss ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for UVU’s over 200 refugee students.