News and Views

Leader Spotlight: Walaa Ali

Tell me about your service with the U.S. military. Where did you serve? With whom? What was your role?

News from the Week of March 10th

This Sunday, the International Rescue Committee and Tucson Jewish Community Center are hosting an event entitled, “Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes”. This simulation is aimed at providing the Tucson community with insight into the hardships, frustrations, and pain that refugees endure.

SIV Sips: Coffee & Community in Houston

By Erich Almonte

In his book, “Gettysburg: The Pivotal Battle of the Civil War,” Captain Robert K. Beecham wrote: “The power of the soldiers to endure the fatigue of the march and keep their places in the ranks was greatly enhanced by an opportunity to brew a cup of coffee by the wayside.”

Captain Beecham was onto something—a good cup of coffee can be a great equalizer, a pick-me-up, and even a salve for tough times, whether you’re home or downrange.

News from the Week of March 4th

This week, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shared the stories of  20 refugee women who came together to open and run a dairy cooperative in Ethiopia. On a good day, these women earn up to 540 Ethiopian Birr—the equivalent of $26 U.S. dollars. The women share the money in an effort to support one another, explaining that the goal of the business is to become self-reliant and care for their children.

SIV Sips - Coffee & Conversation with Veterans & Refugees

SIV Sips is an initiative from Veterans for American Ideals, in collaboration with Starbucks, with the goal of gathering military veterans, refugees and Special Immigrant Visa recipients (interpreters and translators who helped U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan) for coffee, conversation, and personal and professional development. Attendees sip coffee, build their networks, and share the challenges and victories of life in the U.S. All are welcome at these community events.  

Leader Spotlight: Maureen Elias

Veterans for American Ideals is recognizing veteran leaders who are continuing their service by building unity and standing up for American values. Through a series of interviews, we’re asking VFAI leaders to share more about how their service shaped them and what responsibility they feel veterans have to speak up on issues that relate to our national ideals.

News from the Week of February 25th

On Wednesday, VFAI hosted Monsters to Destroy: a Multimedia Talk in Defense of Refugees. Comedian and filmmaker Ben Tumin shared his connection to refugee resettlement, using anecdotes about his grandfather, a German-Jewish refugee. Ben gave an informative and humorous performance, piecing together what he’s learned about himself, this country, and what questions remain for many Americans when it comes to refugees.

Samey is Finally Free

Samey, second from left, with his legal team.

News from the Week of February 18th

In honor of Black History Month, Army veteran and VFAI leader Mac McEachin, reflects on exemplary service amid profound prejudice. McEachin shares the stories of Staff Sergeant Clifford Chester Sims and Colonel Fred Cherry, two men who made brave sacrifices for our country in the face of injustice.

Exemplary Service Amid Profound Prejudice: Honoring Black History Month

By Mac McEachin

Overlooking the wide expanse of the national mall, a stone’s throw to monuments honoring those who who served in the Vietnam, Korean, and Second World Wars, sits the National Museum of African American History and Culture. There, on its third floor, is one of the most moving and powerful testaments to service in the face of extraordinary prejudice: Double Victory: The African American Military Experience.