I don’t know about you, but the political changes and news headlines in 2017 were enough to give me a chronic headache. Especially those concerning the refugee crisis. As the year progressed, fear seemed to became the winning narrative, and indifference the easy way out. Yet as we stand with one foot in 2017 and one in 2018, reflecting on how our response toward refugees has shifted, let’s not forget who we harm when we succumb to misplaced fear and indifference. The refugees our world continues to argue over are not monsters, pawns, nor mere political “annoyances.” They are real people with dreams, passions, skills, fears, and hopes–just like you and me. The one major difference being that they are fleeing war and persecution.
In 2016 I traveled through seven European countries alongside the people photographed below to learn the truth behind this crisis. I discovered the names and stories of every person you see here, and in doing so I learned to see each of them as friends and allies. These are the faces and characteristics of individuals who forever changed the way I view refugee/immigration policy. Their stories taught me the importance of how we treat one another, especially those who are heartsick from long and painful journeys to find peace.
I pray that when you look into the faces of these refugees you will see yourself reflected in their eyes. I certainly do. Read on, or scroll to the bottom to learn how you can practically respond (this includes a letter-writing initiative for local refugees that you can participate in)!
These are the reasons I stand with refugees…