In my faith tradition, we are called to welcome the stranger and extend hospitality. Welcoming the stranger is also part of the civic tradition in the United States, exemplified in the Emma Lazarus poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor, although I must admit that we as a country often fail to live up to our highest ideals.
I was heartened to hear, however, that a meeting called to see if there were people interested in aiding the re-settlement of Syrian refugees in our area was so crowded with local folks wanting to help that they had to expand the meeting room to accommodate them all.
Our Greater Binghamton (New York) community has a long history of welcoming refugees and is an official re-settlement area. Over decades, there have been refugees here from diverse countries, such as Laos, Ukraine, and Iraq. It would be an honor for some of the Syrian refugees who have suffered so much to find a new home here with us as well.
I get a bit choked up thinking about new refugees arriving because one of the main organizations that will help them is the American Civic Association, which suffered a mass shooting as few years ago. Despite that, they continue to do great work, welcoming the stranger, helping them to learn English, teaching them about the United States, and helping them create a new home here.
I truly appreciate their work and their example of what “welcoming the stranger” really means.
Linda’s prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: strange/stranger/strangest. Join us! Find out how here: http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-3115/