A new podcast in Texas features the stories of refugees in North Texas and the community organizations and volunteers that welcome them. In the first episode, we meet Ghazwan Abdullah, his wife Huda, and their 11-year-old daughter Hiba who are Iraqi refugees resettled in Dallas, Texas. Along the way, we'll also discover meaningful connections from Jason Clarke (Seek the Peace) and hear expert commentary on asylum seekers from Bill Holston (Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc.).
The podcast is a project developed by Tiffany Jelke of Human Rights Media and the SMU Embrey Human Rights Program.
Author Cindy Wu, one of our local partners and passionate refugee advocates in Houston, recently debuted her new book A Better Country: Embracing the Refugees in our Midst. The book provides a 7-week lesson plan for Christians to think theologically and practically to respond to the global refugee crisis. The release party also featured presentations from Houston Welcomes Refugees and Abba's House, faith-based groups that are helping welcome and integrate refugees in Houston.
The University of North Denton School Department of Social Work hosted a refugee summit, Seeking a Safe Haven: An Interdisciplinary Conversation. The summit brought together refugees, service providers, and scholars to discuss the importance of refugee resettlement and providing protections for asylum-seekers. Donna Duvin of the International Rescue Committee and Jonathan Ryan of RAICES gave keynote addresses. They highlighted previous and current challenges to refugees and the need to empower refugee and immigrant communities. The summit was organized by UNT social work professor and Refugee Congress delegate Dr. Hadidja Nyiransekuye. During the summit, Dr. Nyiransekuye premiered a sneak preview of filmed interviews with refugees living in North Texas and a number of refugee service providers. The film will be used to educate the broader community about refugees.
Community members also came together in Houston for the Resilient Soul, 2.0: Welcoming Our Refugee Neighbors summit. Hosted by the Houston Refugee Women's Collaborative, the event featured stories from a diverse group of refugees from Syria, Vietnam, Nepal, Iraq, and Congo. The keynote speaker was Anne C. Richard who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration from 2012-2017. Richard stressed the need to rebuild bipartisan support for the refugee program, which has helped save thousands of lives and helped the US maintain its role as a global leader.