Today is World Refugee Day, What Can We Do?


Wit & Delight has always been my forum to get things off of my chest: parenting thoughts, fashion ideas, how-to, mental health conversations, etc. It’s been my place to share how I’m feeling, how I dealt with those feelings, and how to help people who are going through similar situations. I’ve worked incredibly hard to try and balance what’s good for me and what serves our readership; including keeping my personal political stance outside of the equation (if you are interested in that firestorm, visit Twitter). 

I’ve also been working on some core values of the brand, to fully define our company, our people, and our culture. One of these core values is “Kindness,” we treat others how we want to be treated. Another is “Courage,” we speak up when we need to, even though it might be controversial or unpopular.

In honor of World Refugee Day today, and the devastating images of children being separated from their parents at the U.S. and Mexico border, I’m using this platform to share resources both locally to the Minneapolis/St. Paul audience (as I recently learned that Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita of any state, according to the U.S. Census and refugee support agencies), and globally. 

What can you do? Well, the first thing you need to do is learn about what is happening right now. NPR has a comprehensive run-down on immigration and border protection policies under Obama (which did include detainment centers for families) and the changes the Trump administration has implemented. Read beyond the headlines, and avoid opinion pieces if you’re just getting your head wrapped around the facts. Next, get to know what is happening in your community. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, the resources below advocate for human rights and all of these organizations help ensure those who have been granted asylum are properly represented and cared for.

In Minneapolis/St. Paul

  • CLUES – “(Spanish for: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) is a linguistically and culturally relevant resource and service nonprofit organization that was founded in 1981 by Latinos for Latinos. Our programs and services connect individuals and families to resources, skills, institutions, and systems and create an environment for people to be engaged and empowered. CLUES services focus on the Latino family, yet our experience and capabilities enable us to serve individuals and families from all walks of life including new immigrants and low-income families who dream of a better future.”
  • Lynum Law Office – The law offices of Kara Lynum who specializes in immigration law. Kara is also the host of the podcast Immigration Nation.
  • The Advocates for Human Rights* – “An independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization founded in 1983, The Advocates for Human Rights creates and maintains lasting, comprehensive, and holistic change on a local, national, and global scale. Volunteers, partners, supporters, board members, and staff implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law.”
  • The Center for Victims of Torture* – “The Center for Victims of Torture works toward a future in which torture ceases to exist and its victims have hope for a new life. We are an international nonprofit dedicated to healing survivors of torture and violent conflict. We provide direct care for those who have been tortured, train partners around the world who can prevent and treat torture, and advocate for human rights and an end to torture.”

At a National Level:

  • UN Refugee Agency* – A terrific resource for the larger refugee situation happening globally.
  • The International Rescue Committee* – “The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The IRC will put in place high-impact, cost-effective solutions that help people affected by crisis. We’ll also use our learning and experience to shape humanitarian policy and practice in ways that improve the lives of more people worldwide. And in all of our work, we will focus on breaking down each of the barriers faced by women and girls.”
  • Oxfam* – “Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. We help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters. Our mission is to tackle the root causes of poverty and create lasting solutions.”
  • Doctor’s Without Borders* – “An independent, global movement providing medical aid where it’s needed most.”
  • Save the Children* – “Creating lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world.”
  • UNICEF* – “The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes, and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.”
  • Mercy Corps* – “Mercy Corps lives and work in more than 40 countries around the world, partnering with local communities, governments, and changemakers to help people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.”
  • Refugee Council USA – “Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), a coalition of 25 U.S.-based non-governmental organizations, is dedicated to refugee protection, welcome, and excellence in the U.S. refugee resettlement program.”
  • ACLU – The American Civil Liberties Union is currently raising money to help defend asylum-seeking parents forcibly separated from their children at the U.S. and Mexico border.
  • The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) – RAICES is a Texas-based non-profit that has raised more than $9 million through a viral FB campaign. The money will be used to pay the bond for parents being held in detention and pay for legal services for immigrant children in Texas’ court system.
  • The Texas Civil Rights Project* – Is looking for Spanish speaking translators as well as volunteers to help with the legal intake process. This group recently filed an emergency request with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to fight the family separation policy.
  • Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project ASAP – A project of the nonprofit Urban Justice Center aims to “prevent wrongful deportations by connecting refugee families to community support and emergency legal aid.”

Do you have any more questions about charities or non-profit organizations? I recommend checking out Charity Navigator, an online resource to assess over 9,000 of America’s charities.

*All of the starred charities were rated with at least three (3) stars from Charity Navigator. The remaining organizations shared here were either not listed in Charity Navigator’s database or not yet rated. I encourage you to always research before donating money to any cause.

BY Kate Arends - June 20, 2018

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June 20, 2018 2:24 pm

Thank you for this, Kate!

June 20, 2018 2:52 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I think there are a lot of people in the US who want to do more to help but aren’t sure what is the most effective way to make a difference …so it is really great that you’re sharing this information. Thank you for using your platform and voice to address such an important topic!

June 22, 2018 11:44 am

Thank you so much for posting on this incredibly important issue. I’m now listening to the Immigration Nation podcast, and finding it incredibly helpful to get my head around the matter.

Emily G
June 22, 2018 3:17 pm

Thank you for highlighting some great Twin Cities organizations – I worked for The Advocates for 12 years (and worked closely with Center for Victims of Torture) and they both do great work on behalf of asylum seekers. My asylum clients were some of the most resilient and hopeful people I met – in the face of incredible past trauma and lengthy system delays in their processes, they still had faith in American values (sometimes more than I did).

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