We stand with our immigrant neighbors, our refugee neighbors–not because they have a positive effect on our bottom line, but because they are human and worth the inherent dignity of humanity
Like many of my fellow Americans, I’ve found myself a bit dumbstruck over the events that have unfolded from our nation’s executive branch over the recent weeks. An eternal optimist, I’ve done my best to find silver lining in it all.
The bright side of all of this? Americans all over our country are banding together in solidarity to show their support for their immigrant and refugee neighbors.
“What is a web development agency doing spouting political diatribes?”
That’s what you might be asking. It’s a fair question. This is not a political issue; this is not a “left” or “right” issue. This is a human issue.
Many business leaders have already come out in support of immigrants and refugees because they run companies who depend on those populations and their skills, or they run companies founded by immigrants.
This is all good and well, but at the risk of being repetitive: this is a human issue.
We stand with our immigrant neighbors, our refugee neighbors–not because they have a positive effect on our bottom line, but because they are human and worth the inherent dignity of humanity.
None of this is (or should be) controversial. Many of us, in our dumbstruck state, are left asking ourselves, “What can I do?”
I don’t have all the answers, but I know that if all of us do something, it will make a difference.
This is what we’re committing to:
To me, this is the most important part.
We may not all be able to go protest, or go to the ends of the earth and alleviate suffering, but we can all do something right where we are.
Zao Supports Refugees
Locally, Zao is committed to serving an organization who has been committed to serving Portland’s local refugee population.
Refugee Care Collective equips refugees to adapt to life within their first year of entry through partnering with local resettlement agencies and mobilizing the city of Portland.
We’re doing a matching campaign for RCC.
That means we’ll match anyone’s donation to RCC, dollar for dollar, in their name.
If you hate these matching campaigns as much as I do (I mean, seriously, you want me to RT you and you’ll give a dollar? Come on. Just give the dollar.), fret not.
We’re giving $1,000 (to start) no matter what. We’d just love to be able to give it in your name, instead of ours. Just email your donation receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll hit you back with the matching donation in your name.
Other Pacific Northwest Organizations That Need Help
Latino Network is a non-profit that serves Latino youth, families, and communities. The news of the election has hit their community hard, and the support they offer the Portland-area is invaluable.
“At the same time, American voters made a choice to elect a President who has used harmful and divisive language that singles out Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, and other people of color.
I have heard from many of our staff members and community members about the deep fear that exists within our communities. Many of us, our families, and people we know came to this country as immigrants seeking a better life. Leaving one’s home to immigrate takes courage, strength, and a deep desire to seek something better for ourselves and our families.”
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project fights for immigrant justice by providing direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education. Since the election, they have been doing a ton of work to continue to advocate for immigrants and educate social service providers in Washington.
IRCO has spent the last forty-plus years working with Portland refugees and immigrants. Their goal is to “promote the integration of refugees, immigrants and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy and inclusive multi-ethnic society.”
ISOS is a charitable organization that works with a network of non-profits and community service groups through financial and public assistance. They provide refugee services, as well as needy assistance, family crisis, and alliance support.
There are parallels to history in what has recently happened. We said never again. The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is an extremely important resource, particularly right now.
The Hollywood Theatre is a non-profit that screens special social justice related films and works with local non-profits (like Latino Network) to host screenings, with talkbacks, and gives the proceeds back to the organizations they partner with. Art has been a well-documented medium of political resistance and education, and supporting that is vital.
The Regional Arts & Culture Council is serves Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties with grants for artists, non profits, schools, as well as advocacy, community services, and arts education.
Once again, art is a well-documented medium of political resistance and education–as well as an excellent therapeutic tool and a huge contribution to the community. It has been suggested that the current administration may eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which would drastically damage many arts organizations–this one included.
The President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, Robert L. Lynch, shared a few things he has done, as well as how the community can rally against this, in a blog post on their site.
“I don’t take anything for granted with the will of an elected body, whether it’s federal state or local. Anything can happen…[s]o it’s important for the arts community to voice its concerns as much as possible.”
National Organizations That Need Your Help
These folks help protect and fight for the rights of those who have been uprooted, based in Washington D.C. They’re doing vital work and a great central hub for supporting refugees and immigrants.
You’ve heard of the ACLU, and we have them to thank for blocking the unconstitutional ban that the world is still reeling from. They’ve decided to keep fighting–and these lawsuits are expensive. Supporting them is crucial.
EFF has done important work for many years. Considering that Muslim Americans returning abroad were recently asked for their social media accounts for evaluation upon re-entry, the work they do is going to be more important than ever.
BAJI works with and on behave of African American and black immigrant communities by building coalitions and initiating campaigns to push for racial and social justice. They’ve released their official condemnation of the recent executive orders, and will need support for the people they serve moving forward as well.
ILRC trains attorneys, paralegals, and community advocates regarding how to work with immigrants, and work with many different groups to shape public policy regarding immigration.
NILC is dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and strategic messaging about immigration issues.
What Else Can We Do?
Call your representatives and voice your opinion.
The Sixty Five makes it easy to find your reps, as well as provides a simple script for callers to use, which is especially great for those of us who get anxious regarding calling on the fly.
I’ve given a lot of thought to giving, and I want to make sure that we can have the best impact possible.
If you’re familiar with organizations that are having a significant positive impact for refugees and immigrants, or if there are other things you think we can do to help, I’d love to hear about them.