At the end of 2015, the UN Refugee Agency reported that there are more than 65.3 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people worldwide – the highest level ever recorded. Of the 65.3 million displaced, 21.3 million are refugees, over half of whom are children.
Finding solutions to refugee crises is complex. While some refugees may choose to go home when it is safe, and some may find that the countries that first offered them safety may also offer them a pathway to legal residency and citizenship, and a very small number of refugees may be offered the opportunity to resettle to a third country. At current levels, less than 1% of refugees will ever be resettled.
The United States has long been the international leader in refugee resettlement and in light of the global crisis, it is more important than ever that we ensure that the United States continues to lead. Here’s how you can help support your refugee neighbors and the resettlement program:
•Learn about refugees and resettlement through our Backgrounder, videos, and this online class series.
•Welcome New Americans to Your Community: Episcopal Migration Ministries works through a network of 30 local agencies in 22 states. Volunteer with one of our local resettlement partners to welcome new Americans: http://bit.ly/EMMpartners. If there is not an Episcopal Migration Ministries’ partner near you, you may contact Allison Duvall, EMM’s manager for church relations and engagement, for assistance in locating the closest resettlement offices to your area: email@example.com, (212) 716-6027.
•Contact your elected officials to tell them that you support your refugee neighbors and the resettlement program. You can do this through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN).The EPPN is a grassroots network of Episcopalians dedicated to striving for justice and peace. Through our action center, you contact your member of Congress directly via email, participate in direct advocacy, and spread awareness in your community. Click here to learn more about the Episcopal Church's ministry of advocacy. Visit this website to join the EPPN: http://tinyurl.com/JoinEPPN, or contact Lacy Broemel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-547-7300.
•Write an op-ed or a blog post to share your support for immigrant and refugee welcome. Here are some great tips on writing an op-ed and getting it published. Want help with your main points? Let us know; we’re happy to help.
•Host a rally, a #RefugeesWelcome dinner, or educational event. Bring your community together to support welcome and to stand with your refugees neighbors. You can do this through larger events, like a rally, or smaller, more intimate events, like a dinner in your home. Education and building understanding are key. If you are a member of a church or other faith group, host an educational event in your congregation. Check out the Refugees Are Welcome toolkit for great resources and tips for planning events and spreading the word.
•Pray: If you are in a congregation, consider using the Prayers of the People for Refugees and Displaced People written by Alyssa Stebbing, Outreach Director at Trinity Episcopal Church, The Woodlands, in the context of a service or a vigil.
•Share this bulletin insert in your congregation so members can learn more about Episcopal Migration Ministries, refugee resettlement ministry, and how to join our #SupportRefugees campaign.
•Start the conversation in your parish, diocese, and local community. Reach out to Allison Duvall, EMM’s manager for church relations and engagement, for resources including on-demand educational videos, gifts discernment activities, a Christian formation class series, and to host EMM’s traveling portrait gallery: email@example.com, (212) 716-6027.
•Volunteer with our affiliate in Miami Springs, FL. EMM Miami has been serving refugees in South Florida since 1980. The agency provides services for newly arrived refugees to help put down roots in their first months in the new community. This includes support services such as employment training, financial literacy, and job-placement services, as well as client referrals to various community providers. Click here to learn more.