These stories represent just a few of the refugees, the communities that welcomed them, and the communities they serve as they work to stop the spread of COVID-19, and uplift one another. Every day people, taking small actions.
The Mera Kitchen Collective is a worker-owned cooperative based in Baltimore, MD. Part of their mission has been to help empower refugees in the community, and they’ve continued that work in response to COVID-19. Mera Kitchen called out to the community to find those who were in need of meals. They’re now mobilizing to cook and deliver 1,400 free meals for healthcare workers and others.
Adenah Bayoh, a former refugee from Liberia and the owner of three IHOP franchises in New Jersey, announced that she would be using her restaurants to offer free meals to some of those who have been hit hardest by coronavirus. “This is a moment for businesses to step up and give back to the communities that support us every day. As business owners, we must invest in the safety and security of the places we call home, and ensure that all of our people survive this crisis.”
Adele Masengo Ngoy founded Antoine’s Tailor Shop in Portland, ME after being resettled as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While her store is closed for business, her staff has continued to volunteer their time to make face masks as the country faces a critical shortage. “As an immigrant, we want to give back to the community to offer these masks and give them for free to the most needy.”
Even before COVID-19, refugees, asylees, and other immigrants have served the communities that welcomed them. Find stories of refugee helpers below.
Dr. Anisa Ibrahim fled Somalia at 5 years old, and she and her family were resettled as refugees in Washington state. Dr. Ibrahim and her younger sister received care at Harborview Medical Center as children, and years later, Dr. Ibrahim would return as director. “Today, Ibrahim directs the clinic and cares for patients who are often newly arrived or previously resettled refugees and immigrants.”
RCUSA members are working every day to ensure that refugees and asylees are . Here are a few of the ways RCUSA members have declared to public officials that protection must continue.
More than 100 advocacy organizations sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary Wolf requesting that the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security ensure that those who have been applying for permits, visas, or parole will not be unjustly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The letter asks that the validity period for visas and applicants be extended in response to new travel restrictions. Further, they requested that refugee admissions be reinstated as soon as is safe, to ensure the US is able to meet its admissions goal of 18,000.