The Journey Home

Lately, we cannot go anywhere without hearing about the immigration and refugee crises. First, a travel ban was set in place and now families are being separated from each other, making it more and more difficult to settle into the United States. This implies that the road to immigrate might have been easier in the 'before;' however, the process was always far from simple.

Tuesday night, around 100 people gathered into Belong Church to hear Farduus Ahmed share her story of immigrating to the U.S. from Somalia as a child. Farduus described how long and discouraging the process is, going through many intense interviews and health screenings.

I almost broke when she told us of witnessing women who became pregnant during their processes. Most of the time, their visas would be put on hold until the government could figure out who the father was and test him in the same way. If the expectant mother had malaria, they were forced to take pills to treat it before coming to the U.S.; however, these pills caused the women to miscarry. Can you imagine? Putting your life on hold for years to be able to emigrate? Not being able to start a family or change your lifestyle at all? Deciding between a child and a country? I know couldn't.

Leaders from the Bhakti Yoga, Muslim, and Methodist faith traditions then took the microphone to speak in solidarity with refugees. Time and time again, they repeated Farduus' statement, "As human beings we are all refugees." That struck me. We are all seeking refuge from something, whether it be a place, person, experience, emotion; we all have something we want to leave behind. How amazing is it, that faiths so different from one another can stand together? Nabeeh Hasan from the Islamic faith spoke on how all religions find a commonality in standing against oppression and urged those sitting in the church to not be complacent, to get involved with their communities.

The night appropriately ended with a sending message in the candlelight. We were asked to reflect on what lit our fires and how we keep our flames burning. We were asked to focus that energy on helping our refugee and immigrant neighbors, and it's amazing that we have such privilege. So let's do something about it. Extend a hand to a neighbor, ask your friends about where they come from, get involved with local advocates and aides. Don't be complacent. Keep your flame burning.

- Intern Katie