Available for Interviews: Refugees Attending SoTU as Guests of Congressional Members

Published On: Donate

Media Advisory: Available for Interviews: Refugees Attending SoTU as Guests of Congressional Members

For Immediate Release: 
February 4, 2019

Contact for Scheduling:
Danielle Bernard
dbernard@lirs.org; 410-230-2888

Washington, D.C. —On Tuesday, February 5th, multiple refugee and immigrant leaders will be present at the State of the Union as guests of Members of Congress. These guests will represent the millions of people across the U.S. whose lives have been impacted by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as the administration systematically dismantles protections for refugees and asylum-seekers.

Awn Sian Mung (Mungsan), a former refugee from Burma, will attend on behalf of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) and Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM).

About the guests

Awn Sian Mung (Mungsan): Mungsan is a former refugee from Myanmar (Burma) who was initially resettled in Colorado in 2011. He now serves as a Lead Case Manager for Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mungsan voted for the first time this past November. He will be a guest of Congressman Ben Ray Luján (NM-3).

Valdir Solera: Mr. Solera came to the U.S. as an asylee from Brazil in 2013 after surviving human trafficking. He now lives in Wailiku, Hawaii where he works as a tourist guide and environmentalist. Solera serves as a state delegate to the Refugee Congress and is a member of Hawaii Wildlife Fund, where he is dedicated to the conservation of Hawaii’s native wildlife through research, education, and advocacy. He will be a guest of Senator Brian Schatz (HI).

Akelo Zuluka (pseudonym): Mr. Zuluka is a 31 year old asylum seeker from Africa. He currently works as a service coordinator at a mental health facility in California. In 2016, after his mother and uncle were killed by violent gangs, Zuluka arrived in the U.S. via San Francisco, where he sought asylum. He was held in ICE detention for six months in Rep. DeSaulnier’s district, and his case is still in process. Zuluka will be a guest of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).

Mungsan will be available Tuesday through Sunday. Please contact Danielle Bernard at DBernard@lirs.org to set up a time to speak with him.

Akelo and Valdir will be available for interview on Tuesday prior to and following the State of the Union address. Please contact media@cwsglobal.org to set up a time to speak.

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Founded in 1939, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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