Mother of Exiles

Did I catch your attention with this 2005 photo of 21 year old Jason and me at the Statue of Liberty? Ok, good. Now stick around while I talk about refugees.

I've been wanting to write something for awhile, but I've struggled to find the right words. But somehow for me, it all goes back to Lady Liberty,  "Mother of Exiles" according to the first verse of "The New Colossus", a quote from which is written on the statue itself. Here's the poem in full incase you weren't forced to read it in high school:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-Emma Lazarus

Everything I've learned about America cries out that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees, the vast majority of our relatives, distant and not so distant, have come here from somewhere else.  Way back when Jason and I went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I found my relatives names in the records there. They came here as immigrants and were welcomed.

You have a .00003% chance of being killed by a foreign born terrorist. I don't mean to make light of national security, but I'm more concerned about the ways in which we are much more likely to be killed. The article I linked to above will tell you that on average 9 Americans are killed by foreign born terrorists annually (however, none of those terrorists came from countries included in the travel ban), whereas 12,843 Americans are killed by guns annually. I'd argue that anyone wanting to make America safer should be doing something about gun violence.

What can we do? How can we make sure our country continues to be welcoming, especially to those escaping persecution, famine, or war zones, those who no longer have a home?

Doing something means no longer remaining silent, but speaking up, for me that means writing this post rather than just writing easy, happy things on the blog. Teresa took her whole family to an immigration protest in Seattle. We're both aware it means continuing to do things, like supporting businesses that support refugees, donating to charities, being in contact with our representatives, and continuing to be aware of what's happening politically as things could be changing daily.

Here are companies who have taken a stand against Trump's immigration ban. 

This New York Times article does a great job outlining ways to help including pointing out a couple of interesting organizations like Humanwire, an org where you can fundraise directly for a refugee and Hello Neighbor, a database of ways to help.  Both of these are orgs I'm in the process of looking into supporting, I'll keep you updated!

If you're in the Seattle area, check out Ubuntu Cafe in Kent where refugees are employed and taught culinary skills. 

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