World Refugee Day 2019 Toolkit (download here)
Thursday, June 20th ─ and the entire month of June ─ we come together to celebrate the courage and resilience of refugees and their contributions to U.S. communities. We also raise our voices in opposition to the U.S. government’s decision to turn its back on refugees, through reducing resettlement in the United States and expanding policies that keep families apart.
While the United States was once a leader in protecting refugees, the current administration has dismantled our refugee resettlement program by 75%. But the need has never been greater, as the world is currently grappling with the worst refugee crisis in history. As refugees and friends of refugees, we are calling on the administration to preserve and expand refugee resettlement in the United States and enact policies that help refugees rebuild their lives.
Top 4 Ways to Protect Refugees & Restore the U.S. Resettlement Program
For RCUSA’s 2019 World Refugee Day Toolkit, please visit: bit.ly/WorldRefugeeDay2019.
Start by Sharing the Message on Social Media: Starting June 1 and every day thereafter, send a message of support on social media. Sample tweets available here. Sample graphics are available here: bit.ly/WRDGraphics2019. Sample videos on welcoming refugees are linked, as well as a longer form video for screening at events. Follow @RCUSA_DC on Twitter and “like” Refugee Council USA on Facebook for more. Use #WRD2019 in all postings.
Host or Attend a Local World Refugee Day Event: Even small events, multiplied across the country, send a powerful message to the Trump administration and Congress that welcoming refugees and immigrants is a moral issue. Host a local World Refugee Day event, such as a Journey Sabbath to dedicate a worship service to refugees, or attend an event already being planned. We Are All America has a map where you can register your event, or find out what is going on in your area. You can also link up with I Am An Immigrant actions. More resources are available here.
Call Congress – National Call-in Day June 20th: Click here for information on calling Congress, and share with your networks for our massive call-in day June 20th, World Refugee Day. Sample script and click-to-call tool available here.
Support Local Refugees Welcome Resolutions: Ask your state & local policymakers to pass Refugees Welcome resolutions in June. Click here for a sample resolution. Visit contactingcongress.org/local and usa.gov/elected-officials for contact information. Tweet at your governor and state legislators. Don’t forget #WRD2019!
Immigrant Heritage Month: Community, Family, Food, and Love & Support
June is also Immigrant Heritage Month! The I Am An Immigrant campaign, led by FWD.US, encourages all community members to celebrate the monumental contributions that immigrants and refugees make to our communities every day. Each week, we will lift up refugee stories and ways to take action to restore refugee protection, corresponding to a particular theme for that week. The theme weeks are listed below!
Week 1 (June 3-9): Community
Organize a Journey Sabbath!
We invite people of all faiths to stand in solidarity with refugees by organizing a Journey Sabbath in June. A Journey Sabbath can be dedicating time during a regular weekly worship service to having refugees share their stories and asking congregants to take action in support of refugee protection and resettlement. Here are general worship planning resources and many denominations have their own resources as well. A prayer for the uprooted is available here. You can also invite congregations to send a Refugees Welcome postcard or We Choose Welcome postcard to your national, state, and local leaders. You can find more planning resources for your celebration here. More information on how to organize a journey sabbath can be found here.
Week 2 (June 10-16): Family
Write for a Local Media Outlet!
Writing opinion editorials (op-ed) or a letter-to-the-editor (LTE) for local media is the perfect way to make your voice heard. This week, share what “family” means to you and why it is important to protect refugee families. Below is a sample letter to the editor. For information on how to submit an op-ed or LTE, contact Lynn Tramonte at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for additional resources. And don’t forget to share your piece on social media once it is published!
As Members of Congress celebrate refugees and immigrants for World Refugee Day and Immigrant Heritage Month, I hope they take time to reflect on how the United States – and [CITY, STATE] in particular – can continue to be a welcoming community for refugees and immigrants.
World Refugee Day reminds us that our community is home to many refugees waiting to be reunited with family members who remain overseas. We must not close the door on those most in need by dismantling the refugee resettlement program. Congress should hold the administration accountable to ensure we resettle at least the 30,000 refugees we promised to welcome this year and commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees next year.
Refugees are mothers, fathers, and children. They are doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, craftsmen, and musicians. As the world searches for solutions to the largest displacement crisis in history, with more than 25 million refugees worldwide, we have a moral and legal obligation to refugees seeking a chance to rebuild their lives and create a better future for their families. These people are no different than our [Biblical] ancestors who were once refugees who found welcome and were called to do the same.
Week 3 (June 17-23): Food
Support the Ration Challenge!
The Ration Challenge is public “challenge” where participants commit to eating the same amount and types of food a Syrian refugee would receive in a camp in Jordan. It takes places for one week (June 16-23). The objective is to raise awareness about the stark plight of these refugees, and raise funds to support them. Here are ways you can participate:
Promote the Ration Challenge on Facebook or Twitter. Click here for sample graphics.
Film a 30 second video about why you support the Ration Challenge, and amplify on social media.
Sign up to take the ration challenge yourself, and share your experience on social media.
Work with CWS to write a column about the challenges facing refugee families and support for the Ration Challenge. Contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at email@example.com.
Week 4 (June 24-30): Love and Support
Join National Prayer Chain!
Flood social media with prayers for refugees and offerings of prayerful witness to restore the refugee resettlement program. Heres are some ideas:
Record a video of yourself holding a printed, filled out #Faith4Refugees Refugee Prayer Chain sign.
Say: My name is _________________ and I’m ______________ (faith tradition)
I am from ___________________ (city, state)
I pray with refugees to restore the resettlement program because_______________________.
Upload your video to Twitter with the hashtags #Faith4Refugees #WRD2019 #CelebrateImmigrants and tag the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (@interfaithimm) and tweet at your Members of Congress.
Post the video to Instagram and Facebook with #Faith4Refugees #WRD2019 #CelebrateImmigrants. Make the post public on Facebook and tag Interfaith Immigration Coalition and your Members of Congress!