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Let Freedom Ring

How will you celebrate July Fourth? Waterskiing? A picnic and fireworks? Road trip? Let’s hope we’re all able to experience a bit of joy and recreation.

For many of our newcomer friends, Independence Day is a reminder of how radically their lives have changed. They know what it means to live without freedom.

When we asked them to reflect on the changes, here’s what a few of them said:


“To me, America is a place where I can learn, work, and thrive without regard to my gender or ethnicity.”

Muzhgan, Afghanistan

“People do not care about your beliefs. They respect you. They respect you like human beings.”

Zia, Afghanistan

“Now I am here with my family, I am glad with God, and now I have work… I say now every day…God is good, every time. Yes, I can say that!”

Elias, Nicaragua

“When we got here in 2000, my parents were the happiest people in the world. There was a huge group of people at the airport to greet us. We could go to school, have religious freedom, and opportunities.”

Anzhella, Ukraine

“Finally, we are able to live right. We have rights. In Indonesia, we didn’t have any rights because we are refugees. We have to keep silent, but here, no, it’s not like that. Everyone helping each other.”

Seti, Iran

“The United States represents hope, the opportunity to rebuild, it is a window to show our best talents and put them at the service of the country that has welcomed us.”

Morella Perez Suels, Venezuela

“[In Iran,] it is very dangerous for a Muslim to become a Christian. It is against the law. They can kill you. I chose the freedom – free to pray, free to go anywhere. Especially for my children.”

Souzan, Iran

“Coming to America has been life changing and how I never expected…Life is quite – I cannot even say the opposite – but it’s just unpredictable…its different. More like the cars, the roads, the system here, the economy, schools – just the lifestyle is very different.”

Naomi, Democratic Republic of Congo

“Very different than everything I’ve ever seen. The people, the culture, the system! The way the American system is organized – everything is in the rules and laws, and makes it so beautiful and so flawless.”

Abdulazak, Democratic Republic of Congo

“Spokane is very beautiful.”

Alexa, Nicaragua

“I like the people here. We make jokes and work hard and have a good time. It’s good – I like it here.”

Samir, Syria

“Spokane is nice. The people are nice.”

Fatima, Afghanistan
Job Readiness Workshop assists refugees in preparing for jobs and interviews.

“I know, maybe, God has a plan for me in Spokane. I was in school one day and the [U.S.] army recruiter showed up…I just went for it…I just feel like there’s already a plan and I’m just a little piece of it.”

Dani, Vietnam

As fireworks light up the sky this Fourth of July, let’s not just celebrate our nation’s past, but also the vibrant future we’re building together in Spokane and Spokane Valley. Together, we build a stronger community, a testament to the ideals of liberty and justice for all.

A Beacon of Hope for Refugees

The United States has long been a beacon of hope for refugees and other immigrants. It is a land where one can leave behind famine, war, persecution and hardship – to start a new life full of opportunity and freedom.

For refugees, America is a chance to breathe again. Since 1975, over 3 million people have found a new home in America. (UNHCR) Almost 90 percent become citizens within 20 years, a testament to their commitment and gratitude! (American Immigration Council)

Opportunity flourishes here, and the community embraces them with open arms. But don’t take our word for it…

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