Over the last few weeks CAIR-Chicago has been a leading voice defending Syrian refugees from the outrageous backlash many public figures have instigated. The struggle isn’t over. Now more than ever refugees need your voice. If you care about Syrian refugees, and are wondering how you can help, here are three steps you can take to make a difference.
1) Call your elected officials at the federal level
If you do one thing on this list, make these phone calls. 47 Democrats – including Illinois’ Cheri Bustos and Dan Lipinski – joined the House Republicans to pass H.R. 4038, the SAFE Act. The act would effectively block new Syrian refugees from entering the United States, until the federal government could comply with burdensome new requirements. You should call your elected officials in both the house and the senate – especially Bustos and Lipinski – to tell them you oppose this act.
Senate Phone Numbers: here; Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
House Directory: here
Find your representative: here
Email addresses: here
2) Call your elected officials at the state level
Bruce Rauner announced that the state of Illinois will not admit any more Syrian refugees. While this announcement was largely symbolic, it contributes to the hateful climate some want to foster – and Rauner does have authority over valuable resources to support refugees once they arrive. Tell your state representatives that you oppose Rauner’s decision and that you want to welcome refugees into Illinois, regardless of their country of origin.
You can identify your elected officials and their contact information here.
3) Volunteer and Donate
With the state budget impasse, many organizations that serve immigrant and refugee communities (including resettlement agencies) need additional support for crucial programming that assists with integration. These agencies and their clients need volunteers that can commit to long-term service projects that would supplement existing programming (e.g. ESL, mentoring, homework help, etc.).
They also need financial contributions and supply donations. The Syrian Community Network is seeking donations. They are also accepting donations through Family Tree Resale. The 6 agencies in Chicago that provide initial resettlement services for refugees can also use our help:
- Heartland Alliance
- Catholic Charities
- Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago
- World Relief Chicago
- World Relief DuPage/Aurora
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and for calling your elected officials at this crucial moment.