A Conversation about Afghanistan

September 13, 2021

by Victoria Rudnicki

On Monday evening, Refugee Action Fund welcomed our supporters to an intimate conversation about the current crisis in Afghanistan. We had the pleasure of hosting Sahr Muhammedally, Timur Nusratty, and Michael Shaikh, to speak about the situation on the ground for Afghans, how we got here, and the immediate and long-term support that will be needed to help Afghan refugees in the United States and around the world. As always when we host roundtable discussions, we are honored to create an opportunity for our community to come together to understand the complex forces that shape the refugee crisis.

You can watch the full program here:

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Afghanistan: A Call to Action

August 27, 2021

By Greg Sharenow

I write this email with a heavy heart. As I watch events unfold in Afghanistan, I’m saddened by the return of the Taliban and the rise of ISIS-K in a country long impacted by war. It is no wonder the great lengths Afghans are going through to try to leave their country, their native land, many of whom are too young to remember what life was like only 20 years ago under the Taliban rule. It is hard to fathom the fear driving so many people to try to flee by any means possible.

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From the Border to the Capitol: Protecting Refugees During the Biden Administration

April 20, 2021

This general insistence on the idea of a “surge” or “crisis” at the border is problematic in and of itself. It is dramatized and feeds into a xenophobic narrative being pushed by people who don’t want to see immigrants of any kind come into the country. – Elizabeth Foydel, IRAP

Violence is rampant. Men, women and children are being kidnapped. Yet we see the United States using Title 42 to deport pregnant women, newborn infants as young as two weeks old, and children in the prime of their development who should be protected. The majority of children being deported to Haiti right now were not born in Haiti. They were born at the U.S.-Mexico border. – Guerline Jozef, Haitian Bridge Alliance

 The Biden administration inherited a dismantled system for supporting and welcoming refugees and asylum seekers. Yet, the U.S. has a legal obligation and a historical responsibility to provide protection to people fleeing violence and persecution. The Biden campaign promised it would welcome refugees and asylum seekers with dignity. Three months into a new administration, what has changed?

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3 Ways the Biden Administration Can Support Refugees

December 9, 2020

After four years of nearly a complete shutdown of refugee and asylum infrastructure in the U.S., the devastating impact of COVID-19, and ongoing global humanitarian crises affecting 80 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, we are now going to see a change of leadership in the White House. There is so much work that needs to be done to ensure that the most vulnerable among us — especially refugees — receive the support they need to thrive.

Here are three ways the Biden administration can improve the lives and dignity of refugees in the U.S. and around the world.

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Refugee Action Fund's 2020 Virtual Benefit

October 15, 2020

By Victoria Rudnicki, Benefit Chair

In 2020, a lot has looked different, and for the first time, many of us were not able to come together for various special occasions throughout the year. At Refugee Action Fund, we faced this challenge in thinking about how to plan our annual benefit gala, which is typically held in-person in New York City and is crucial for our fundraising efforts. Despite not being able to celebrate the evening physically together for the first time, we are proud to announce some other firsts: our first-ever virtual gala, our first-ever silent auction, and our most successful annual benefit ever!

On Sunday, October 4th, more than 200 people from locations all over North America came together virtually for a moving evening of discussion about how art can play a role in creating a more welcoming society. Together we raised over $315,000 in support of refugees in the U.S. and around the world – surpassing our goal by over 50%!

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Four Key Lessons about Supporting Refugees in 2020

July 28, 2020

By Julie Gersten

As we continue to experience the whiplash of a global pandemic and grapple with an uncertain future, I have been reflecting on our efforts to support refugees and asylum seekers during this challenging year. Since January 2020, Refugee Action Fund has distributed $275,000 in grants to nine phenomenal organizations that are responding to pressing needs for refugees.

Here are a few key insights I’ve gleaned:

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Released from Detention

July 7, 2020

When the Otay Mesa Detention Center at the U.S-Mexico border had the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases of any detention facility in the country, our grantee, ABA Immigration Justice Project, worked tirelessly to get detainees released. Check out this moving video they made of all of their clients they were able to get out of detention over the course of a week in May. 

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Black Lives Matter

June 4, 2020

Refugee Action Fund condemns racism in all its forms—racism that dehumanizes people and leads to needless death, like the death of George Floyd and so many others.

Refugee Action Fund was founded to uphold the dignity and humanity of individuals who are marginalized because of who they are and the circumstances that shape their lives. Our work is driven by the values of equality, justice and inclusion. While we work to raise up the humanity of forced migrants, we cannot stand idly by as we witness the oppression of African Americans and people of color around the world.

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The Layering of Crises with COVID-19

May 7, 2020

By Julie Gersten

Four years ago, Refugee Action Fund launched in response to the growing refugee crisis as we witnessed millions of people fleeing for their lives. As the news cycle continued to churn out photographs and video footage of people traveling on boat and on foot with no safe place to go, we decided we had to act. Our goal was to mobilize our networks and raise money to support organizations providing safety and restoring humanity to people who were fleeing for survival.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of the same crisis—the number of displaced people in our world continues to increase and governments continue to shut their doors—but with another crisis of great magnitude layered on top of it. Right now, millions of refugees are highly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19—subject to intense poverty, unstable and overcrowded housing, lack of access to medical treatment, persecution and violence. And, as countries close their borders to all but essential travel, refugees—whose travel is so essential because they are fleeing for their lives— are finding themselves trapped in impossible circumstances.

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Naji's Story

December 11, 2018

Eighteen-year-old Syrian refugee Naji Aldabaan became the man of the house at the age of 10 after his father was imprisoned and tortured by the Syrian military for 40 days. During that time, Naji left his house only to buy bread for his family. He watched a woman get shot and killed before his eyes. As bombs fell in his neighborhood, Naji’s family walked for hours in the cold night to seek refuge in Jordan.

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