|#WorldRefugeeDay and Beyond|
We shared with you yesterday our efforts to amplify the voices of the Syrian refugees here in the United States. We are committed to continue to give them a platform to speak openly and freely. We hope we can count on you to help us as well.
Ramadan Iftar with Secretary John Kerry & UNHCR Envoy Angelina Jolie-Pitt
Last night, a local mosque in the Washington D.C. area provided us with another opportunity to connect the voices of the Syrian refugees to the U.S. government. Through a gracious invite from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), the second largest Islamic center in the U.S., our President Mirna Barq, along with Mohammed Ghanem, SAC's Director of Government Relations, and Shlomo Bolts, SAC Policy Officer, attended an interfaith Iftar dinner with guests Secretary of State John Kerry, and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie-Pitt.
Barq attended the event with the specific goal to remind the Secretary of State that the refugees want a no-fly zone. As she translated back and forth she shared with Kerry that the refugees are thankful for a safe haven here in the U.S. but that they continue to urge for a safe haven in Syria through a no-fly zone, if not for them then for their relatives still living under continuous bombardment by Russia and the Assad regime, to which he responded "I understand." This event comes a few days after 51 diplomats at the State Department submitted a dissent memo to Sec. Kerry protesting the Obama Administration's Syria policy and calling for threatening retaliatory airstrikes on the Assad regime in response to the regime's violations of the ceasefire.
Mirna Barq, SAC's President with Syrian refugee families and Sec. of State John Kerry and Angelina Jolie. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State)Barq also took the opportunity to thank Angelina Jolie-Pitt on behalf of Syrian Americans for her unwavering humanitarian work and support of the refugees. Jolie-Pitt spent the time getting to know the refugee families while addressing the community on the importance of embracing the newcomers.
Mirna Barq, SAC's President, connects refugee families with Anelina Jolie-Pitt.
The Iftar dinner event brought together several interfaith leaders including Imam Mohamed Magid and Rizwan Jaka, Chairman of the Board of ADAMS, as well as Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Pastor Bob Roberts, Chief Rabbi Bruce Lust and Rev. Joan Bell-Haynes. Many of our friends from the interfaith community were also on hand.
Salam Neighbor Now On Netflix
In the past year we have had the privilege to speaking on panels after screenings of Salam Neighbor, a compelling film about life at the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.
The film is about two American filmmakers who travel to the edge of war, to live with 85,000 Syrian refugees in the Za'atari camp. They experience an intimate look at the heartbreak and hope on the frontlines of the world's most dire refugee crisis. From meeting Ghoussoon, a former nurse who started a business to provide for her three children, to the street smart, 10-year-old Raouf, whose trauma hides just beneath his ever present smile. Zach and Chris uncover inspiring stories of individuals rallying, against all odds, to rebuild their lives and those of their neighbors.
From the award-winning creators of Living on One Dollar, Salam Neighbor is a must see. It's been called "Important" by U.S Ambassador Samantha Power and "Heart-wrenching" by Indiewire.
We ask that you watch Salam Neighbor on Netflix, rate the film, and share it with your friends and family in the next 48 hours. If we can help get enough views and ratings we can get the film featured, amplifying its message to millions more!
Watch the trailer below:
(Film synopsis courtesy of Salam Neighbor)
Syrian refugees deserve the chance to speak-up. Help us continue to provide them platforms to share their story.
DONATE to the Syrian American Council now.