***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
June 17, 2020
BALTIMORE – This week, World Relief is marking World Refugee Day 2020, which is annually commemorated on June 20, with a number of activities, including the launch of an online Facebook Live event called, “Creating Welcome with Story,” on Wednesday, June 17 at 4 p.m. EST. This conversation will dig into the challenges of immigrants and Biblical teaching through the stories of four women. Additionally, on Thursday, June 18, World Relief’s three offices in California are joining together to celebrate an evening of storytelling and commemorate the importance of refugees in their respective communities. Finally, World Relief is appealing to the administration to increase the refugee ceiling in FY 2021 to 100,000.
As the U.S. continues to fight the novel coronavirus, refugees and other immigrants are at the front lines continuing to serve our communities. Refugees and immigrants make up one in four health care workers, one in five workers in the U.S. food sector and over a quarter of the workers in both the food processing and agriculture industries. The Facebook Live event World Relief is hosting, which will include panelists Jo Saxton, author, speaker, podcast host and leadership coach; Adriana Mondragon-Hill, marriage and family therapist; Roza Rudeychuk, resettlement manager at World Relief Sacramento; and Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief, will also discuss the impact that COVID-19 has had on immigrant communities in particular and how the local church can respond through welcome. At a time of increased racial tensions in the U.S., World Relief believes honest, personal conversations about welcome and inclusion can help equip the church to respond to those who are often marginalized with compassion and justice.
“While many have had the privilege to hunker down behind their laptops at home to wait out the virus, many foreign-born women and men continued to go to work to keep the food supply chain running, provide medical treatment, care for the elderly, enforce the laws and perform countless other essential jobs,” commented Tim Breene, World Relief CEO. “For all the decades World Relief has worked with refugees and immigrants, we continue to be humbled by the ways that these women and men who have lived through incredible hardship choose to lay down their lives for others through daily sacrifices.”
The combination of the virus with shocks like famine and locusts in sub-Saharan Africa is threatening already vulnerable populations. With historic numbers of those forcibly displaced at 70 million, the impact of COVID-19 will continue to devastate large portions of the world that are already struggling with extreme poverty and hunger.
“The need around the world is only going to continue growing,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, “and the U.S. is well-positioned to answer that call. As public health considerations allow, we strongly exhort the administration to open the doors to admit refugees in numbers proportionate to the need. We believe that as a nation we can’t afford to turn away these individuals and families for whom we can offer a safe haven, not only for the economic and societal benefits that a diverse workforce brings, but for the fundamental reason that we are called to love others as Christ first loved us.”
For more information about World Relief’s refugee resettlement and other services, please visit worldrelief.org.
About World Relief
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.