Happy Fourth of July! I hope that all get a moment to enjoy today with family and friends.
The United States stands as a symbol of freedom and justice. It has also become a place of safety, security, and opportunity for immigrants and refugees fleeing complex situations in their home countries. In honor of July 4th I’d like to share several thoughts from immigrants and refugees about life in the United States.
Saham Talal, a former refugee from Iraq, explains that while there are a series of challenges to face during resettlement the overall outcome is positive and worthwhile. He shares:
I am thankful and grateful to have been given the chance to have a safe, peaceful, decent and respectable life by being resettled in the United States where I feel free to live as I believe and make my own choices. I almost lost my life in the country of horror and terror where I grew up. Resettling in the states is tough and difficult. A huge adjustment that requires hard work, patience, persistence, responsibility and discipline, but it is totally worth it. To me, home is not where you grow up. Home is where you find peace, love, and freedom. The United States is my home.
After fleeing civil war in Liberia, Joyce Cooper was resettled in the United States. She describes the many opportunities that life in the United States has afforded her:
Living here has allowed me to follow my passion and dream: becoming a full time designer with my own clothing line, and sharing my knowledge with the community. I’m blessed to be able to use my talent to raise funds for local charitable organizations and give back to my community.
As the United States continues to welcome immigrants and refugees, the diversity of this nation increases. Badal Abdile, formerly of Somali, offers comments on the significance of this diversity. Abdile remarks on the peace that is found within that diversity:
I like living in Dodge City, first because I’m able to work and support myself, and second, because I am able to live peacefully and interact with communities of every religion, culture, and ethnicity, which come from all different continents. These things are so important to me.
The United States was founded by immigrants who journeyed in search of freedom and opportunity. For many people displaced by war or natural disaster, the courageous journey continues. Join LIRS in celebrating the Fourth of July and honoring the courageous journeys of immigrants and refugees who have come to call this great nation home.