It is easy for refugee voices to be drowned out by news of suffering and loss. But refugees are more than their suffering; they are strong, resilient individuals who have the power to change their communities. Now more than ever, it essential to highlight the voices of refugee and immigrant leaders in our communities as constituents and agents of change.
CWS is pleased to present the Champions for Change Award to Refugee Congress at this Year’s Benefit for Change. Refugee Congress is a national advocacy organization comprised of refugees and asylees/asylum seekers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Clara Hart, the founding board member, describes the members of Refugee Congress as ‘teachers, advocates, social workers, students, and activists.’ The mission of the organization is to promote the well-being, integration, and dignity of all refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons in the United States.
With the values of inclusion, empowerment, independence, collaboration, and integration,Refugee Congress takes a holistic approach to their work. Drawing on the voices, opinions, and experiences of refugees and asylees/ asylum seekers, Refugee Congress partners with other organizations who advocate for and serve these communities to share information about issues and trends and identify solutions. The organization also works with government agencies, officials, and service providers at the state, national, and international levels by advocating alongside them for the communities they serve. They educate these actors in order to raise awareness about who these communities are, why they are here, and what they contribute to their local communities and their larger society.
Mr. George Tarr, Refugee Congress Delegate from New York, will be accepting this year’s award on behalf of Refugee Congress. Mr. Tarr’s family fled Liberia in 1998 and arrived in the U.S. in 1999. Due to his grandfather’s work as a government official, the Tarr family had been targeted during the brutal civil war and later resettled to Staten Island.
Mr. Tarr works tirelessly to serve others. He has been the youngest board member of African Refuge, a neighborhood non-profit organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth. He has also served as a peer counselor at the International Rescue Committee, where he mentored newly-arrived refugee students. Mr. Tarr serves as Co-Chair of the Refugee Congress Youth and Education Caucus.
Tickets are still available – join us at the Tenement Museum on November 15th to celebrate those who continue to say, “We’re Still Here!”