Introducing Our New York Leadership Committee!

September 9, 2019

By Julie Gersten

New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world and home to millions of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. As the Refugee Action Fund deepens its work to respond to the global refugee crisis, I’m thrilled that we have launched our New York Leadership Committee! This Committee is comprised of dedicated individuals in the financial industry—many of whom are from immigrant families themselves. Together, they will expand our network of supporters and serve as ambassadors for the Refugee Action Fund in the New York Metropolitan area.

I hope you’ll take a minute to get to know our New York Leadership Committee members and learn why they’re responding to the refugee crisis.

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Reflections from Beirut on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

May 15, 2019

By Julie Gersten

Recently, I was invited to travel to Lebanon with the International Refugee Assistance Project, an organization supported by Refugee Action Fund that provides legal advocacy for refugees and displaced people in need of a safe place to call home. The trip was designed to train law students and lawyers to do legal intake on Syrian refugees. IRAP is not only the first organization to provide direct legal services to refugees throughout the process of UNHCR registration, refugee status determination, protection, and resettlement; they also work with law schools and law firms to build the capacity and availability of lawyers to do this critical work. Here are some reflections from my experience.

Sitting on the airplane to Beirut, I tried to prepare myself for meeting refugee families whose lives are engulfed by hardship. I reviewed the 10-page legal intake form I received from the International Refugee Assistance Project. The questions go on and on, probing the most specific and personal details of people’s lives and their trauma.

Six days later, when I sat in a room across from a Syrian family desperate to resettle to a country where their son could get treatment for his serious medical condition, I was surprised to learn that neither of the parents could read.

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Leaving Liberia: My Family's Refugee Story

March 13, 2019

By Badou Edgar Khan

I came to this country with just ten dollars in my pocket, worked hard, and climbed up the socio-economic ladder to build a meaningful life for my family.

This familiar ‘rags to riches’ story may be a bit cliché—and mostly on point—but I know, as an immigrant, that the experience of thriving within a new country is usually more complex, especially for refugees and forced migrants.

My name is Badou Edgar Khan. I was born in Liberia, West Africa. When I immigrated to the United States from Liberia in the 1980s, I left my family with the hope of advancing my education. My father, who worked for the Organization of African Unity (OAU) mission to the United Nations, had a plan to send me to high school in New York. He provided me $3,500 to subsidize my education, housing, and food. And when my father returned home after helping me get settled, I was fortunate to have a strong support system in my home country that brought me solace. 

Then, everything changed. What started as a small uprising in Liberia became a full-fledged civil war. By July 1990, Charles Taylor and his rebel forces breached the capital Monrovia, my home town. I lost track of my family and my world began to unravel.

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My Family's Refugee Story

December 21, 2018

By Hussein Allidina

In 1972, my mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles were among more than 80,000 Asians living in Uganda who were forcibly displaced by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

Gripped by fear and uncertainty, my family saw their lives as prosperous farmers and business owners crumble before their eyes. In a matter of weeks, my mother and her three sisters fled for Canada. My grandmother and uncle were relocated to a refugee camp in Italy before settling in Canada years later.

I cannot imagine how vulnerable my mother must have felt as she navigated an unfamiliar country on an entirely different continent. And yet, when my mom looks back at that time, she tells a more uplifting story — a story of gratitude; gratitude for the many Canadians, including neighbors, community members and people at the local mosque, who provided the lifesaving support that she needed to start over.

Lily, June,Yasmin.jpg
My aunts with their caseworker in the winter
of 1972 when they arrived in Canada.
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Why We Launched

December 14, 2018

By Greg Sharenow

Over eighty years ago, my German-Jewish grandparents fled the tragedy of the Holocaust in Germany. Through luck and connections, they were able to secure a visa to Panama where they built their lives anew. Their resilience, perseverance and the support they were provided by organizations that helped them get on their feet is the reason I am here today.

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Finance World Rallies for Refugees in New York

November 7, 2018

By Russell Dyk and Sahr MuhammedAlly

With so much spiteful rhetoric around immigration during this election season, it was both uplifting and inspiring to attend Refugee Action Fund’s Launch Party on October 23rd at New York City’s Tenement Museum. 

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Reflection on Yesterday’s Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue

October 28, 2018

Yesterday, a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburg, murdering 11 people and injuring 6 more. Our hearts mourn for the victims and their loved ones.

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Interfaith Refugee Project Re-Launches as Refugee Action Fund

October 8, 2017

Today, Interfaith Refugee Project became Refugee Action Fund!

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Reflections from the U.S.-Mexico Border

October 02, 2018

By Julie Gersten

 

In August, I joined a delegation of Jewish leaders organized by HIAS who visited detention and migrant facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border. The experience afforded me access to the inner-workings of the U.S. immigration system: inside a detention facility where thousands of immigrants are kept in prison conditions; in court proceedings where complex and convoluted procedures shape the trajectory of those seeking refuge and asylum; behind the electronic fences where our government houses unaccompanied minors and separated children in legal limbo; and shelters in Tijuana where men, women and children fleeing for their lives await the opportunity to go North, or individuals freshly deported from the U.S. (some brusquely removed from their families and lives in the United States where they have spent decades) try to reunite with their children or just figure out what’s next for them.

Bearing witness is painful. It is impossible not to feel deeply impacted by the pain and trauma of the individuals inside the U.S. immigration system. Even more daunting is what bearing witness demands of me: the responsibility to share what I’ve seen, and the obligation to take action. I offer these observations and reflections from my experience as a first step.

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A Crash Course on Refugee Economics

October 26, 2017

Listen to co-founders Greg Sharenow and Michelle Brouhard on Bloomberg Radio talk about how to integrate refugees into the fabric of U.S. Society.

A Crash Course on Refugee Economics

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