June 20, 2015: World Refugee Day

Saturday, June 20th marks World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to drawing our attention to the hardships that refugees face and the work we must do to help those fleeing from persecution. A recurring theme in our Jewish narrative is centered on our history as immigrants and refugees. The struggles of refugees resonates with the Jewish people, serving as a reminder of the human rights violations and injustices individuals face when excluded from a community because of their political ideologies, gender, race, or religious beliefs. The JCPA believes the United States should welcome refugees and provide funding for refugee programs—welcoming not only Jews escaping religious persecution, but all those searching for a society governed by principles of tolerance. HIAS, a co-sponsor of Immigration Nation, helps refugees of all backgrounds stabilize their lives. HIAS’s mission is guided by Jewish teachings and an understanding of the plight of the Jewish people in the past century. The latest mid-year report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that “by the end of 2013, 51.2 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations.” In light of World Refugee Day, it is imperative that we, as members of the American Jewish community, acknowledge the struggle of those searching for justice and our duty to amplify their voices.