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Still Standing with Refugees

  October 17, 2017

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Since the International Institute of New England (IINE) began hosting the Suitcase Stories series in April 2017, more than 1,000 people have attended a show and had their hearts and minds changed forever.

Since the IINE community just wrapped up our final 2017 performance of Suitcase Stories in Boston, I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on how the Suitcase Stories series challenges people’s perceptions of refugees and immigrants.

These performances have provided a way to dig beneath the headlines and expose audiences to the complexity of the immigration issue in an accessible and enjoyable way. It asks audiences to examine their own biases and worldviews. Our communities have been enriched, expanded, and lifted up by these performances, and we are very grateful to the storytellers, staff, and sponsors who have made them possible.

That’s why I find it particular disheartening to read the newspaper these days and see our own government purposely suppressing data that would further prove to the wider community that refugees are key contributors to our economy. Here is a quote from the piece written by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Somini Sengupta titled “Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees:”

“WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.”

Aside from the fact that life-saving policy decisions are reduced to simple cost/benefit analysis is the larger, moral question of how we as a nation choose to mitigate or ignore humanitarian crises across the globe.

IINE has nearly one hundred years of experience in the business of welcoming refugees and immigrants, and we know they are invaluable contributors to our communities.

Three ways to help refugees & immigrants

1) Contact your federal representatives to let them know this is an important issue to you.

2) Work to make your own community a more welcoming place, and share good, accurate content online.

3) Support refugees & immigrants in New England by attending the Golden Door Award Gala on November 30, 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston. Click here for more information.



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