How to Be an Advocate for Refugees
One of the best ways to support refugees at home is to get informed and spread the word. Here are a few simple, yet effective ways you can raise your voice in support of refugees in your community and beyond.
- Do your research. Understanding the mechanics of a problem is the first step in helping to solve it. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is an excellent resource for understanding the basics of today’s refugee crises around the world.
- Reach out to your elected officials. Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute’s US Immigration program, tells Brit + Co that even though the president determines how many refugees are allowed to come to the US, it’s still a good idea to reach out to your representatives and senators. “Anything that would potentially influence the president is a good thing to do,” she says. You can find contact info for your state and local officials here.
- Get involved with a local refugee resettlement agency. Many of these agencies have a very small staff working hard to support refugees, so volunteering your time to help one of these groups with a range of tasks — from office administration to social media — can go a long way. UNHCR’s directory of US resettlement agencies is a good jumping-off point.
- Donate. Charitable organizations are always grappling with budget challenges. In addition, many resettlement agencies saw their funding slashed when Trump took office. An easy, helpful way to lend a hand is to make a financial donation to organizations that work with refugees.
- Tell refugees that you’re paying attention. You can reach out directly to refugees by sending letters. Through CARE International, a non-profit that works to end poverty, you can send a letter to refugees letting them know you’re paying attention to their struggle.
(photo via Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Elizabeth King is a politics, history, and culture writer based in the Twin Cities. She is generally pretty cranky but still enjoys traveling, music from the early 2000's, and plotting the resistance. Feel free to say hi on Twitter at @ekingc or check out some of her work at www.elizabethcking.com.