A Minute on Welcoming Immigrants

A statement by the AGATE PASSAGE FRIENDS MEETING,  RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

Kitsap County, WA

Increasing violence throughout the world fills our hearts with deep sadness. As Agate Passage Friends (Quakers) we are appalled when world events are infused with the rhetoric of racism, religious bigotry and isolationism. We recognize that emigration entails considerable risk and an uncertain welcome for refugees who want to leave violence behind. As Quakers we recognize inherent human rights to seek safety and refuge from violence.

The conflict in Syria continues to be the most significant driver of recent migration. Ongoing violence elsewhere, as well as extreme poverty, are also leading people to look for new lives.

Agate Passage Friends Meeting is committed to the idea that all people deserve respect, health, justice and safety. We recognize a collective responsibility to support refugees and immigrants who relocate in our community. We commend our governor, Jay Inslee, who has affirmed that the State of Washington will not close its doors to refugees fleeing violence in the world.  We wish to praise all political leaders who compassionately counter the rising tide of intolerance.

Many of our ancestors were immigrants who came seeking opportunities or were fleeing famine and violence.  We have a responsibility to support those with such desperate needs at this time, even as many public voices call for increasing isolation and distrust in the name of security.

We urge everyone to search their hearts and consciences for ways their voices can bring together people of diverse faiths, cultures and ethnic backgrounds in harmony rather than dividing them and isolating communities from one another.  We pray others recognize the urgency of this situation and will join our efforts.   Let us respond with love that casts out fear.

Agate Passage Friends Meeting supports the outstanding work of Friends Committee on National Legislation (www.fcnl.org), American  Friends Service Committee (www.afsc.org), and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as they work toward creating shared security.  We believe these organizations, and others working toward similar goals are deserving of support from citizens of the Kitsap County community.

Read the IFC webpage on refugee response.

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