Since my last update reflecting on recent senseless acts of violence in Beirut, Paris, and other parts of the world, our collective pain has only deepened.
More lives have been lost in California and elsewhere, and divisive responses from politicians are making it difficult for our nation and the world to heal.
Today — on Human Rights Day — I am reaching out again to answer a question many of you have asked me: What is Tahirih Justice Center doing to combat this divisive rhetoric and protect refugee women and girls from Syria and other parts of the world who are caught in the crossfire, and how can I help?
Tahirih is on the front lines of ensuring that our laws and policies are compassionate toward those most vulnerable. Your support is needed now, more than ever, so that we can respond to negative proposals and dialogue that threaten to close our refugee system and build policies based on fear. Please consider supporting us today so that we can increase our efforts to:
- Fight legislation that would harm refugee women and girls
A striking fact has been overlooked in the vitriolic debate over the fate of Syrian refugees. Over 75% are women and children and more than half are under the age of 18. They have heartbreaking stories like Linda* whose 7-day-old son was killed in an attack that hit a hospital. They deserve our support and, like all mothers, should have the opportunity to protect their families from violence and raise their children in a community where they can thrive.
That’s why we mobilized over 140 local, state, and national groups to raise their voices against harmful legislation like the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, or H.R. 4038. Legislation like this would only create more obstacles for mothers who have been driven out of their homes.
A letter that lays out our concerns about this and similar legislative proposals is now in the hands of all U.S. Senators and other lawmakers, and Tahirih is working in a coalition of other national groups to ensure robust protection of refugees in 2016 and beyond.
- Raise public awareness about the plight of refugee women and girls
Women and children who have lost everything to violence are suffering, and we are working to share their stories with as many people as possible. Thousands of mothers, like our client Lucia,* are seeking protection in the United States from some of the most dangerous countries in the world, only to be locked away in jail-like settings, unable to get the help they need. In the last three months alone, thanks to your support, refugee stories like Lucia’s have reached more than 70,000 individuals on Facebook alone.
- Provide legal defense for refugee mothers and children from all corners of the globe
Our direct services are delivered based on need, not country of origin, and any immigrant woman or girl, from Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere, can seek our help as long as she is on U.S. soil and is entitled to protection under U.S. law. Since our founding in 1997, we have answered more than 17,000 pleas for help from immigrant women and children, and we are overwhelmed with requests for legal defense. It is heartbreaking that we can’t answer every plea for help because of lack of capacity. We can only change that with your help…
On Human Rights Day, I am reaching out to ask you to renew your commitment to refugee women and children fleeing unthinkable violence by making a donation to Tahirih Justice Center. Every dollar matters! Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis. We need your help before the year ends to continue to provide award-winning services, bridge-building advocacy, and far-reaching education programs in these challenging times.
As America struggles to walk a just path in the aftermath of terror, I have found comfort in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness,” he said, “cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Thank you for sharing your light and love with Tahirih Justice Center.
Together, I know we can create world where all people enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.
If you already made a gift, thank you — your gift will transform lives! Please consider sharing our message on social media with your friends and family.
*Name has been changed to protect client safety.