Hello beautiful friends,
It’s been a while. I went to Thailand (beautiful, hot, lazy days) and then flew to California, to continue my goal of circumnavigating the Earth on this trip. Someday I’ll do it without airplanes! I’m visiting with friends now, as I slowly work my way back across the States.
But that’s not the purpose of this post. I’ll write about my travels again some other time. At the moment I want to tell you about a new project I’ve taken on.
When I left Greece I felt a confusing mixture of guilt, relief, more guilt, sorrow, anger, and a huge desire to go back immediately. But my visa was up, so I had to leave. I drifted a bit, trying to figure out what to do next. I decided almost at once that even if I couldn’t be in Greece I could still do outreach at home, raise awareness and maybe money, and send it back to my friends still working in Europe. Maybe I could inspire others to work at home or abroad to make life easier for these people.
To that end, I volunteered to help with the newborn DC Rally 4 Refugees, a group of volunteers back from Greece who decided to keep working. On August 28 we will rally at the Washington Monument in DC to spread awareness, educate, and raise money. Although this rally is aimed specifically at refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we also stand in solidarity with refugees from the rest of the world, and will provide educational material on as many as we can. There are 60 million refugees worldwide. That’s a lot.
I’m the Volunteer Coordinator for this rally, which means that if you want to get involved, I’m the person to contact! If you don’t want to get involved but do want to attend, like our Facebook page, share it with your friends, visit our website (which is getting an upgrade), shout it to the rooftops, donate, or just pass the word along. The more people we have, the better!
I can’t tell you how much this means to me. The situation in Greece is getting steadily worse as the EU does its level best to make things difficult for the refugees. People are living in squalid conditions, being held in detention centers without cause for weeks, and literally starving in the streets. When they “act out” by protesting, the authorities come and they get tear gassed and beaten, which turns protests into riots. There’s very little protection for vulnerable cases and minors, no oversight at military-run camps, and the processes for relocation and asylum are cripplingly slow at best, nonfunctional at worst.
The USA should be doing more. We have the space, the money, the resources. We bear responsibility, as human beings, to help. I hope this rally will begin to do that, by bringing awareness to the issue.