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From Afghanistan to Amarillo: How Can We Help? (Aug 2021)

We have all been flooded by heartbreaking images of Afghans fighting for spots on planes leaving Kabul. And many of us are asking, “What can we do? How can we help?”

Our goal is to get you the facts about what is already happening and by whom, and then to help you come alongside those organizations to offer meaningful help. Finally, we hope that this informal dialogue will inspire some of you to brainstorm about unique ways that you can fill in the gaps.

In the first video, listen to an interview with the directors of the local resettlement agencies to learn how you can best support them in the event that Afghan SIVs, "refugee-parolees", and refugees find their way to Amarillo, Texas.

In the second video, listen as Susan, Mariya, and Shabnum (three Afghan sisters) tell their story about how they resettled 20 years ago in Amarillo, Texas. They share about the barriers and stigmas they faced, and how they overcame those challenges with the help of the broader community. They also talk about how they're feeling as they watch news of Afghanistan's current turmoil, speaking to family members who are still there.

Panhandle Refugee Celebration (2020)

Every June 20th, the United Nations and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw the public's attention to the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. Around the world, over 70 million people have no place to call home.

Since 2010, over 4,000 refugees have been resettled in Amarillo (and over 7,000 since 2007)—making this city one of the highest concentrations of resettlement in Texas. Each summer, we celebrate and honor these men and women at our local World Refugee Day celebration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we opted to replace this year's event with an hour-long video tribute!

In collaboration with over 15 local organizations, we bring to you the Panhandle Refugee Celebration. The event featured messages from our mayor, chief of police, resettlement agency directors, and other local partners. It also included pieces from the Amarillo Symphony and the choir at Emmanuel Revival Church as well as a special series of interviews we were honored to conduct with four different refugee leaders here in our city.

Tune in to hear Omar tell about the Somali entrepreneurial spirit, and Par describe what it’s like to be a Chin youth who serves as a bridge for her parents. You’ll be encouraged to learn from Diana how she overcame a brutal past in South Sudan to thrive here in Amarillo, and marvel at the heart of Thepha, a Thai pastor who serves Karen refugees.

Now, this hour long special is available right here! The virtual special includes just a few minutes from each interview, so the full-length interviews are provided here as well. Learn and enjoy!

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