Why consent matters to us (and why it should matter to you too).
In a world of selfies and social media where much of our private lives is posted for public consumption, we forget that for some, sharing personal information may be a matter of life and death.
For many of our Afghan friends, having their photo or name on the internet may heighten the risk that the Taliban can trace them or their family members, some of whom may still be in Afghanistan.
We offer a reminder:
Always obtain consent before posting photos or sharing personal details.
Their loved ones at home may be at risk.
They might be at risk. Even after a refugee or asylum seeker has reached a “safe” country, they may still be at risk from those that don’t hold welcoming views. Political and cultural beliefs can and have led to aggression.
Protecting the security of our friends is something we at Their Story is Our Story take seriously. Our team members obtain informed consent from each individual before an interview takes place. Individuals dictate where their stories may be shared and what personal information they wish to keep private. In situations where the individual is at risk and/or wishes to remain anonymous, alias names are used and other identifying information is removed from interviews immediately after they are received by TSOS.
We are grateful to witness an increasing number of welcomers in communities where displaced persons have been resettled. News agencies and partner organizations alike have encouraged greater involvement and many locals have responded by stepping forward as sponsors, as volunteers, and as neighbors. To those who have actively welcomed a newcomer, we thank you.
Our top priority should be to protect and honor the wishes of our new neighbors and friends. We call upon journalists, organizations, volunteers, and community members to join us in the practice of seeking informed consent out of respect and care for their safety.
Stories are Changemakers: An Instagram Live with Sarah Kippen Wood
Sarah Kippen Wood, Former Executive Director of Their Story is Our Story (TSOS), shares how stories connect and lead to change in an interview with Darien Laird, our Director of External Media. Sarah gives us an inside look at how TSOS functions and shares how telling her story helped her fight a stage four cancer diagnosis.
Uniting for Ukraine: U.S. Sponsors Needed
Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Welcome.us Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.
The American Dream via the Darien Pass
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by geography, and it struck me that there was a highway that I could hop on in my car and drive all the way down into South America. As an imaginative young girl growing up on the Texas-Mexico border, the idea of a road that could take me from my sleepy border town, Laredo, Texas, to the edge of the world in South America, left me awe struck. In high school I learned that this highway is called the Pan-American Highway.