Why refugee resettlement is worth fighting for

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When we started the grueling groundwork of launching a resettlement site here in Northwest Arkansas three years ago, we did so because we believed we had something special to offer refugees in our community. What we didn’t yet know was just how much they had to offer us. Today, here is what we see:

Northwest Arkansas is an excellent home for refugees— and refugees are excellent for Northwest Arkansas.

Our diverse communities of faith surround our refugee families with unwavering love and support… And in turn, our refugee families bring their diverse perspectives, beliefs and practices to our faith communities and offer them the chance to collaborate with each other across denominational and religious boundaries.

Our many world-class employers offer our refugee clients good jobs with living wages… And in turn, our refugee clients meet huge and growing needs in our workforce, from the poultry industry to healthcare to shipping and logistics.

Our service providers come together and wrap around our refugee families to ensure all their basic needs are met… And then our refugee families turn right around do the same for the next ones in line, volunteering as interpreters for the very service providers who welcomed them, organizing fundraisers to support future refugee arrivals and serving as community liaisons and cultural navigators.

Our thriving arts and culture scene offers our refugee families concerts, plays, bike trails and meals that make their lives full and vibrant… And in turn, our refugee families bring colors, sounds, tastes and rhythms that we wouldn’t otherwise find in Northwest Arkansas.

Refugees challenge us to be the very best we can be as a community, all while making us better just by their presence here.

That’s why we ask you to speak up for refugees every chance you get: with your neighbors, your family members, your church members and your elected representatives. That’s why we’re taking an incredible group of pastors, veterans, teachers and service providers to Washington DC this month to share their stories in person with our elected officials. That’s why refugee resettlement is worth fighting for.