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THE 2017 CHARITY BOWL OPENS EARLY WITH REASON

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THIS IS A REFUGEE SERVICE BLOG WITH A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROBLEM

CAN’T SPELL THE WORD WITHOUT IT

Hello, this is a college football website that, once a year, runs a fundraiser for a refugee resettlement organization.

Usually this happens around April, coinciding with the arrival of spring football and people’s renewed interest in this fine sport of ours. It will again this year: Nothing changes that, and nothing will. We continue to raise money for refugees because we believe that this is a nation of immigrants, and that it is the duty of those immigrants to serve as the sanctuary for those immigrants following them.

This is especially true for refugees—those forced from their homes into a second country by war, ethnic violence, or natural disaster, and then resettled in a third country.

This year, due to circumstances beyond our control, we start now.

The Executive Order regarding immigration has, for at least four months, frozen all refugee admissions in the United States. This has happened with no external event to prompt it, no further act of war against the United States or our allies, and with no clear or specific justification whatsoever from the White House. In the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time—the Syrian crisis—the United States has stopped admitting those most in need.

This has happened despite there being no vetting process longer or more rigorous than the existing process refugees already go through in order to receive admission to the United States. This has happened despite refugees being statistically less of a security risk than the average American citizen, or a lightning strike, shark attack, or any other random event you’d care to pull out of a hat for comparison.

This has happened because the current administration has actively embraced harming the least of these to benefit the consolidation of their political base.

This has happened despite nearly seventy years of strong bipartisan support of the United States refugee program, which is largely administered on the ground not by the American government, but mostly by a group of church-based nonprofits.

If you’re just asking us, this is reprehensible, insane, and against not just the ideals this country was founded on, but the values and practices that have made us what we are at our best. Refugees build businesses. They attend your institutions of faith. They repay the tickets they take out loans to buy to get to this country, and after receiving three months of a pittance from the state get off government assistance to not only survive, but thrive.

We could go on: There are other dimensions to that E.O. we might disagree with, too.

The refugee issue is our issue of choice. We will act locally and swiftly to continue to support refugees here in Georgia, a place that has been a welcoming home to refugees since the first Vietnamese refugees arrived here in the late ‘70s, and for the Iraqis, Kurds, Congolese, Iranians, Burmese, Somalis, Sudanese, Rwandans, Burundians, Kosovars, Croatians, Bosnians, Cambodians, Syrians, Nepalese, Ethiopians, Liberians, Eritreans, Sierra Leoneans, and Afghanis who have come here and made this state their home—and who will continue to call it their new home in the future.

So I’m asking you to donate to New American Pathways today, as you have time and time again.

THE LINK IS HERE. THE LINK IS HERE. THE LINK IS HERE.

There is a little box for a message where you can write “EDSBS” or whatever you like to let them know your donation came from this community. If you want to note your school, please feel free to, though there will be no Charity Bowl-style scoring this time.

The funding will help shore up the four month gap in funding that will result from the closure of the refugee pipeline. It will help fund the employment services, resettlement services, English classes, and other education programs New American Pathways provides for their new arrivals that made it in before the ban took effect.

It will also serve as a small but pointed statement against the inhumane policies of the current administration, who in their zeal to stoke the fires of xenophobia have clearly forgotten their Exodus 22:21.

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;

If you’re in the state of Georgia, there’s a New American Pathways email list you can sign up for here for daily action. Again: that’s Georgia only. We’ve also included a short video about the work New American Pathways does, and about what the process of resettlement for refugees in Georgia actually looks like.