Today is International Migrants Day! There are 232 million people worldwide living outside their country of birth. At LIRS, we connect with thousands of migrants through our ministries of service and justice. It may be an hour through a Know Your Rights presentation in an immigration detention facility. It may be several months through specialized foster care for unaccompanied migrant children. No matter what length of connection, I am continually mindful of the challenges they face and the tremendous gifts they bring. Today in particular, I think of their courage to rebuild their lives, their hope for a brighter future, and the communities they now call home. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a migrant himself, says: “Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family.”
LIRS, like many communities and organizations, is made stronger by staff members from diverse backgrounds. Today, I’d like to share the testimonies of two LIRS employees about why they are motivated to welcome migrants each day.
Mindy Shinn, Loans Operations Manager:
I was welcomed to this country as an immigrant, and in thankfulness to God. Our work is advocating and welcoming newcomers to my community…that is where I live, work, serve, and hangout.
Lorel Donaghey, Research and Communications Specialist:
When I came back from serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in Uzbekistan, I wanted to continue that international connection in my work on the front line of hands-on, grassroots service delivery in my own home country. Seven years later, I still work in refugee employment helping refugees and their families find economic self-sufficiency and community integration through employment.
Why are you motivated to welcome migrants? Tell us your story. You can share photos and videos with us on LIRS’s Facebook and Twitter and use #IAmAMigrant. We’ll share your photos and stories, and the UN will feature them on their Storify page.