This past Monday, the International Institute’s Lowell office also hosted their annual “Taste of Thanksgiving” event, where over 50 refugees who are enrolled in the IINE-Lowell’s English as a Second Language (ESL) class celebrated their first Thanksgiving. Volunteers from the Resettle Together network prepared the food and joined in the feast, during which refugees described what they were most thankful for during this time. Resettle Together is a growing network of community partners assisting the International Institute of New England in creating welcoming communities for refugees and providing immediate and long-term support to individuals and families.
Refugees and immigrants in the United States have never needed help, support, and reassurance as much as they do now. For organizations like IINE and MIRA, the election results do not change our commitment and mission to provide all of the support we can to welcome new arrivals, and to assist immigrants and refugees to become productive members of our communities. We believe this nation is exceptional due to its embrace of everyone who cherishes freedom and equality. Sadly, for many new Americans their first holiday in the United States will include a post-turkey tryptophan coma, served with a steaming hot plate of bigotry.
So, as we are surrounded by fearful rhetoric we have to make a choice. We have to choose love over hate and we have to choose unity over separation.
This Thanksgiving Holiday, let’s choose make room for everyone at the table.
Photo Credit: “Thanksgiving” by Silveira Neto (CC BY-SA 2.0)