News from the Week of 21-25 March

Here’s another round of what we’ve been reading and watching this week.

The Huffington Post shares the story of Mariela Shaker, a Syrian violinist who came to the United States as a student in 2013 to study music, and now uses her craft to advocate for peace and connect people from different backgrounds. She has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and spoken at the White House.

Stars and Stripes featured a story on a Syrian family being welcomed by the community of Austin, Texas. While some politicians have tried to block refugee resettlement in Texas, community members have been instrumental in helping Syrian refugees transition to life in America. Refugee agencies report more donations and volunteer support.

The International Rescue Committee announced that it will reopen an office in Missoula, Montana, where it has not had a presence since 2008. The mayor of Missoula expressed eagerness to accept refugees and support their integration, stating, “Missoulians take our humanitarian obligations seriously.”

On Capitol Hill, the Subcommittee on National Security and the Subcommittee on Government Operations held a joint hearing on “National Security: Threats at Our Borders,” where witnesses testified that protecting refugees is not only consistent with American values, but also advances U.S national security and foreign policy interests.

Finally, if you watch John Oliver, here’s his creative take on the refugee vetting process. Brilliant!

Have reactions to share, or want to get more involved? Contact us at vfai@humanrightsfirst.org.