"Refugee" is not a term that indicates race, ethnicity, religion, or any other identifier.
It describes a person caught up in circumstances beyond their control.
That could be any of us, at any time.
I was lucky enough to born into safe and supportive conditions. I try to use this privelge to help in every way I can.
In my work at Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants over the last four years, I have heard people I care about describe the horrors they have suffered at the hands of: other people.
Lately, that horror has started to feel more real.
When walls go up, when bans are enforced, and fear is allowed to take control, our hearts harden and we are capable of anything.
I want to help dissolve the walls.
What I'm Doing
On July 16th, I will begin a
three month volunteer exchange trip with a Jesuit Refugee Services in London,
a hub of international asylum seeking.
From JRS's webpage:
"Walking humbly alongside forced migrants lies at the heart of the JRS mission and is an essential ingredient of our service to and advocacy for refugees. It is based on the belief that encounter, mutual relationship and community are fundamental to human flourishing; the solid foundation upon which to support and assist, in practical ways, those who seek refuge in the UK."
In offering my time this way, I hope that I can
create a bridge between the work that our two countries are doing
to serve one our most vulnerable populations, while bolstering resistance to the isolationism we see rising up in both places.
Your donations will help me to:
1) Spend each day with asylum seekers, detainees, and people experiencing destitution, doing:
-mental health support.
-I will also simply BE with them, listening and walking beside them.
This is the basic gift I believe we can give each other, and it's transformative.
2) Act as a pollinator of wisdom and resource distribution between CERI and JRS, with the goal of increasing the effectiveness and reach of both orgs, as well as communication practices between agencies around the globe.
3) Publicly document my experiences with words and images, in order to continue my work as a mediator between those in extreme situations and those who wish to help.
4) Develop my career path:
-Attend a two day intensive called "Women, Peace and Security" at the London School of Economics.
Through this intensive I want to expand my knowledge and network in the realm of global refugee advocacy, and nonprofit development.
5)Support my spiritual community:
by attending and volunteering at the London Shambhala Centre.
Here again, I hope to be a "pollinator of wisdom" across borders.
Why I Need Support
If I don't have to worry about meeting my basic needs for food, shelter, and transportation, I can give all my time to this project. I also don't want to place any burden on the agency there.
My goal is simply to break even, and return from this service trip with about the same savings with which I'm entering into it.
I used mileage points for most of my flights and have already set up plans to stay with friends as much as possible, while also scheming ways to eat cheaply, but London is expensive and my housing isn't guaranteed.
I estimate my cost of living will be about
800 USD a month, or 2,400 total.
I am working to secure the discounted funding for the intensive, but it will cost between
650 and 1,020 USD.
This is why my
Total Funding Request is $3, 420.
If I don't meet this goal, I will not attend the Peace and Security intensive.
If I exceed it, I will split the excess evenly between the center London and my home agency.
I plan to document and synthesize my learnings so that they benefit both agencies, and even the wider field of refugee nonprofits around the world.
Now is the time to band together, to share resources and wisdom and move humanity towards a more loving, peaceful and inclusive future.
Help me Dissolve the Walls!
- Gary Snider
- Gary Snider
- Jessica Kornick
- Penelope Sands
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