You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: American Welcomes Syrian Refugees.
So far, the United States has taken in 1,500 Syrian refugees with a promise from the Obama administration to accept another 10,000 next year. We’re a country of over 300 million people and 3.8 million square miles; surely we can do better than that.
While the Republican party would like us to think our country is broke, the federal budget is a matter of priorities and willingness to tax the wealthy. In 2015, we spent $609 billion on the military — which doesn’t include care for veterans; surely some of that would be better spent caring for those displaced by violence and extreme poverty than it would be perpetuating those conditions through acts of war.
The Nation magazine along with MoveOn.org are calling for the government to listen to international aid organizations and accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. Germany is taking in 800,000 — a move Oxford Economics says could create an economic boost equivalent to a quarter’s decent growth. The London School of Economics — hardly a bastion of liberal thought — found that immigration in Britain hadn’t increased unemployment or reduced wages. It’s entirely possible that taking in refugees could not only be a moral good, but also have a benefit to our country and economy. Sounds like a win-win.
In their petition — which is on the front page of MoveOn.org’s website and the top of TheNation.com’s “Take Action” tab — reminds recipients in Congress and The White House that our invasion of Iraq and decision to funnel weapons into the region along with a failure to find diplomatic solutions have fueled the violence that is now displacing people. We can’t heal the damage we’ve done, but we can accept responsibility and save some lives.
In addition to signing the petition, you can participate in MoveOn’s “America Welcomes” campaign by taking a photo of yourself or a group with a sign welcoming refugees. Photos are posted to AmericaWelcomes.us and on the #AmericaWelcomes hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. Campaigns like this one not only affect policy, but push national media away from nativism narratives fueled by the right-wing.
"Syrian Refugees: All You Need to Know” via Newsweek
"Turkey Has Spent Nearly $8 Billion Caring For 2.2 Million Syrian Refugees” via Huffington Post
“Syria’s War: Refugee Crisis” — full coverage from AlJazeera America
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich