Travis and Maytham: #WelcometoColorado

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 4.48.10 PM.pngOctober 2, 2018 – “It doesn’t really matter to me, and I don’t think it matters to Maytham, that I was born here and was in the U.S. military and that he was born in Iraq and was an ally and an interpreter, because we experienced the same thing, and that’s what matters,” says U.S. Army veteran Travis Weiner. 

Travis and Maytham Alshadood, a former combat interpreter for the U.S. military who resettled in Colorado on the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program in 2008, met over coffee in the Denver area in spring 2017. They immediately clicked over their shared experience of war, and more importantly, over their shared commitment to continued service.  

“Travis and I both like to get things done,” says Maytham, “not just be angry about things that are going wrong, but to do something about it.”

And ‘do something’ they have. Travis finished law school this spring and is advocating for policies that promote human rights and human dignity. Meanwhile, Maytham is saving lives as a registered nurse at the University of Colorado Hospital, and yet still finds time to volunteer with the International Rescue Committee. He also leads the Denver Refugee and Immigration Vitalization and Empowerment (DRIVE) Project, an organization he founded to empower refugees and immigrants to be their own advocates through civic engagement. 

Together, they’re giving back to Colorado and getting things done. They were leading advocates in the successful fight for a new law granting SIV recipients and refugees in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. The law makes it easier for SIV recipients and other refugees to start or continue their education and to rebuild their lives and careers in the United States. They’re also doing their part to make Colorado a welcoming place—hosting SIV Sips, potluck picnics, and more. 

Watch their story and then join them, and other VFAI leaders around the country, in standing up for other SIV recipients and refugees like Maytham.