The Trump administration, and many of its hardcore fans are still enamored with the ridiculous belief that refugees are “taking over.” While refugees are out here being the living embodiment of sayings like, “be kind to rude people because they need it the most,” and “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” through acts of kindness. Ah, kindness. The perfect response to hate.
No matter what racists believe, this nation is one of immigrants, and refugees. This great nation was built upon the hard work of immigrants and refugees. One of the most monumental wins and symbols of what refugees are capable of is none other than the election of U.S. Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, who came to America as a 12 year-old refugee, and won the hearts of Minnesotans during her campaign through her integrity and honesty.
Additionally, acts such as cleaning up national parks during the shutdown by organizations such as The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association prove that people of all backgrounds and religions can take ownership of the land they love in the United States of America. This positive response to the long government shutdown was a display of unity by the very people Trump supporters claim are worthy of fear.
Another example of the compassion and kindness depicted by immigrants is a refugee-owned falafel shop in Tennessee, which has become a pillar in the local community, uniting people of all walks of life through great food.
The shop’s owner, Yassin Terou, is also the recipient of this year’s Reader’s Digest ‘Nicest Place in America’ accolade. Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville is the new token of the American dream. Terou has an open door policy, with a prominently displayed sign insisting, “All sizes, all colors, all ages, all sexes, all cultures, all religions, all types, all beliefs, all people, safe here at Yassin’s Falafel House.”
Terou stated that it wasn’t always easy when he first arrived to America, but that he learned how to “handle hate with love” through the restrictions of his language barrier. Fast forward seven years after he fled his home in Syria, and Yassin is now the owner of two wildly popular restaurants which employ other refugees.
Another example of refugees bolstering community spirit comes in the form of a cricket team in a French town. The team in question includes refugees and asylum-seekers, and won an International Championship in France.
The club’s co-founder and manager, Nicolas Rochas, first started the club in 2016 by training in a public park. “We decided to start a club to structure the team, take part in a championship, and provide guidance to the players.” For a lot of the refugees on the team, cricket is a sport that is close to their native countries, but serves a bigger purpose in their community. “It goes beyond sport since we assist the refugees and asylum-seekers in their daily efforts to integrate professionally, and at school.”
The sport has also proven to debunk negative stereotypes associated with refugees, and provide a platform for integration between locals and refugees, with many locals taking an interest in cricket, and refugees taking advantage of the opportunity to perfect their French.
Let’s remember, nobody wants to leave their home unless home becomes dangerous, war-torn, and unrecognizable. Refugees and asylum-seekers are a reminder of what truly tough times can look like, and the ones who strive to set up a new life for themselves are not here to steal jobs, or steal resources. They are here to live in safety, and more often than not, bring about positivity after adversity. The sooner this fact can be accepted, the sooner we can work together to build a united, yet diverse community. And through these communities, abundant with kindness and care, we can take society to new heights we didn’t even know existed.