I spent a lot of time today with my head in my hands. I am angry.
I am ashamed and embarrassed that the governor of my own state was among those who have gone on record stating that they will not accept Syrian refugees.
I am even more ashamed and embarrassed at the amount of Islamophobia and blatant racism I have witnessed across social media, on the news, and in conversations. There is so much hatred.
At the time I am writing this, the number of states who have said, “Refugees, you are not welcome here,” has climbed to 20. I have never felt less proud to be an American.
Regardless of whether or not governors actually hold the power to halt refugee resettlement, did they even think about how these bold statements would impact the lives of the refugees who are already here? Fear and hatred spread quickly. Let us not make refugees trade one hell for another.
Fact: I understand the fear. I understand the need to draw inward, to protect, to isolate. Terrible things are happening, in all corners of the world. We want to be safe. We want our families to be safe.
Fact: Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are desperately fleeing their beloved home country for these exact reasons. They want to be safe. They want their families to be safe.
Fact: Since 9/11, 750,000 refugees have been resettled in the US. In 14 years, not one of these refugees has been arrested for domestic terrorism. Not. One. (The Economist)
Fact: The process that the US uses to vet refugees coming into the country is extremely stringent, rigorous, and takes years. The American process is different (more secure) than the European process. The doors are not wide open here, and never have been. (World Relief)
Fact: I do not want to be complicit in the face of terror. I do not want tragedy to lead to more tragedy. I do not want to be on the wrong side of history. Peace starts with each of us; peace starts with me.
“The greatest act of defiance against terrorism is to refuse to be afraid.” (Rachel Held Evans)