Dear President Trump and Members of Congress:
We write as educators in support of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Refugees are our students and their parents; our friends and fellow teachers; and valued members of our communities.
Refugee children have suffered from stolen childhoods. They have endured more than any child should ever have to, including for many the death of a parent or sibling, kidnappings, bombings, walking continuously day and night, sexual assault, years in a refugee camp, and other traumatic events. Every day, we see firsthand the resilience, passion for learning, and determination of refugee children and parents who overcome these obstacles.
Children learn best when they are safe, healthy, and valued. Refugee resettlement provides children who have been forced to flee their homes due to their parents’ race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group an opportunity to begin again--to heal, learn, and grow. Resettlement is the last resort for refugees who are forced to flee from their homes and cannot find safety in a nearby country.
Grateful for the opportunity to live in safety and peace, refugee children work hard to pursue their dreams and foster skills that will help them build a better future. They will grow up to be the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, authors, artists, lawyers, teachers, and more. They will also become powerful ambassadors of American values and democracy to their countries of origin and the world at large.
It has been a privilege to watch refugee children learn about the ways that this country values freedom, liberty, and equal opportunity. Interacting with their parents is similarly heartwarming and humbling, as they have courageously sacrificed so much for their children’s future and are steadfastly committed to education and excellence for their families.
We’re proud that this country has welcomed Jewish refugees during World War II, Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s, and, more recently, refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sudan, and many other countries experiencing turmoil. Our leadership on refugee resettlement has encouraged more than 27 other countries to establish or increase their own resettlement efforts, and refugee hosting countries to keep their doors open.
We urge you to support refugee resettlement and affirm the transformational role it plays in the lives of refugees themselves and community members like us who are forever changed by our interactions with these resilient new Americans. Thank you for your public service, in this country that stands for so much to so many.
Alli Barns, AZ Kelley Elementary, Nashville, Tennessee Aisha Bhadelia, Social Studies Teacher, Economics and Sociology, Round Rock High School, Round Rock, Texas Christy Bomberger, Frontier Trail Middle School, Olathe, KansasAnine Booth, Wildlife Conservation Society, Pearl River, New YorkDr. Martha Chatterjee, Refugee Resettlement Educator, Committee on Teaching about the UN (CTAUN), the United Nations in New York, New York Jennifer Cohen, Clarendon Elementary, Rutland, VermontMr. George Cooksey, Guilford High School, Guilford, ConnecticutEllen Freiberger, New Rochelle, New YorkAlice Gallmeyer, SLP Intern, East Leonard Elementary, Grand Rapids, Michigan Jennifer Gallo, New Hanover County, Wilmington, North Carolina Alethia Garrett, Kindergarten Teacher, Idea Rundberg Academy, Austin, Texas Dr. Emily Gleason, Castleton University, Castleton, Vermont Mary Hope Griffin, PhD, Oakton Community College, River Forest, Illinois Kathleen A. Guinness, Retired Teacher, Poultney Elementary School, Poultney, VermontChasati Haden-McCowan, Danville High School, Danville, Kentucky Michelle Haight, 6ELA Teacher, Clawson Middle School, Troy, Michigan Nichole Hartrick, STEM Middle School, Dearborn, Michigan Heather, U.S. Program Officer, The Women's Bakery, Denver, Colorado Aileen Heiman, Park Slope Jewish Center, Brooklyn, New York Mrs. Decerie Herrera, Refugee Resettlement, NCVA, Cary, North CarolinaPatrick Higgins, Theology Teacher, Catholic Social Teaching, La Salle High School, Pasadena, California Kelsey Howard, International Admission Counselor, Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois Lindsay Jackson, Colorado State University, Denver, Colorado Dina Janis, Bennington College, Bennington, VermontCheryl Kaufman, PhD, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TexasChristina Kerstetter, MEd, Education Policy, Sammamish, Washington Janet Kraus, English Teacher, Vista High School, Richmond, California Amanda Laib, Instructor of Geology and Chemistry, College of Western Idaho, Boise, IdahoDr. Myrtle Lewin, PhD, Professor Emerita of Mathematics, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia Lauren Locke, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina Susan Michalowski, Librarian, St. John of the Cross, Western Spring, Illinois Amy Miller, Director of Education, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, Dallas, TexasSusan Miller, Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington, North CarolinaJulia Laws Moser, Western Hills Elementary, Fort Worth, TexasAmy Nathan, Author of educational books for children, Larchmont, New YorkKahla Nelson, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina Robin Ogg, Speech Language Pathologist, Rutland Intermediate School, Chittenden, Vermont Amanda Peters, AP Human Geography, Frisco High School, Frisco, Texas Katy Reddick, Frank Ward Strong Middle School, Durham, ConnecticutRoland L. Reed, Associate Professor of Playwriting, Retired, The Catholic University of America, Department of Theatre and Drama, Washington, DCRebecca Reimers, Pre-school Lead Teacher and Career Educator, White Plains, New YorkSarah Riad, BSN, RN, University of Massachusetts, Cambridge, Massachusetts Sean, Project Learn School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Rabbi Alanna Sklover, Germantown Jewish Centre Religious School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Kelsey Smith, After School Class Instructor, Freedom Middle School, Stone Mountain, GeorgiaLaura Smith, English Language Teacher, Indo-American Center, Chicago, IllinoisAnna Spoden, Associate Director of Special Education, New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science III, Brooklyn, New YorkDr. Sarah Stanlick, Director, Center for Community Engagement, Faculty, Sociology & Anthropology Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PennsylvaniaDebra Taylor, New Mexico Philharmonic Young Musician Initiative, Albuquerque, New MexicoTawnua Tenley, Mount Vernon Community School District, Mount Vernon, Iowa Courtney Tyler, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, Texas Teresa Van Zant, Green Springs Elementary, Olathe, KansasSarah Vanacore, Learning Specialist, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden, New JerseyMarlee Vandergrift, Communities In Schools Intern, Indian Spring Middle School, Waco, TexasLinda Ziegahn, PhD, University of California, Davis, Davis, California