Texas Refugee Advocacy Day 2017

Texas Refugee Advocacy Day 2017

Posted on in Refugees.

 

Yesterday SEEK participated in Texas’ first Refugee Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. It was an inspiring and meaningful day as close to 150 refugees and refugee advocates traveled hundreds of miles to put action to their convictions.

 

These refugees and refugee supporters met with close to 100 Members of Congress and their staff, showing our representatives that their constituents care about refugees and about living out of the American values of compassion and hospitality for the innocent and vulnerable.

 

As the legislative session is coming to an end this month, we urged our representatives to oppose bills that had harmful consequences for the refugee community. We also expressed our gratitude to representatives who are championing the refugee community in the legislature.

 

In either instance — whether the legislator had historically supported or opposed refugees — we also met to offer SEEK as a resource and explore how we can partner together. As we pursue political advocacy, we are cognizant of the fact that we cannot advocate for the humanity and dignity of the refugee community without seeking the humanity and dignity of our legislators as well. That is peacemaking as advocacy.

 

We will only be successful in passing refugee-friendly legislation if we are able to cross the political divide, overcome drastic polarization, and forge genuine partnerships with both parties. This requires helping our representatives establish the political cover they need, and that requires educating legislators and their constituents on the reality that refugees are not a threat to safety and they are a valuable benefit to our communities.

 

 I am pleased to report that we were warmly welcomed by offices of both parties and, after lobbying alongside 150 other refugee advocates yesterday, we are feeling hopeful that the great people of Texas do care for refugees and are eager to welcome them to the Lonestar State! Be encouraged. And join us! The work is not done, and the more the merrier. Learn how you can get involved: http://seekingpeace.org/get-involved/advocate/

 

To commemorate the day, Representative Wu wrote a resolution instituting the inaugural Refugee Advocacy Day: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HR01912I.htm

Here’s a quick news clip on the event too: http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2017/05/11/first-ever-refugee-advocacy-day-calls-on-legislators-for-compassion-.html