Over the last several months, we’ve seen the stories of so many people in our community unfold in new ways that remind us of hope, remind us of the resilience we see in our new neighbors, and remind us of our shared humanity that we call carry with us no matter if we find ourselves in a Rwandan refugee camp or take selfies in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The story of an Eritrean family of four, just this year becoming a family of five. In the midst of the long haul of refugee resettlement, these community members worked multiple jobs, navigated school, built new relationships with folks around them, bought a car, AND had a new baby join them in the beautiful chaos of it all. One of our long-term Portland friends shared with us about the ways they’ve learned to see joy in a new light through their relationship with this family. For her, as she walked alongside this family in ways they were asking for friendship, she was able to re-calibrate her life and her mindset as she glimpses of what joy in every step of life might look like.
This past year, Refugee Care Collective had a chance to partner with a few families that arrived in the United States through refugee resettlement several years ago and are asking for continued support in what it means for them to experience actually being settled, as they begin the citizenship journey toward permanency and being able to vote! One of these families, a two-parent family with three kids, has shown up in their own culturally specific community, as well as the broader community of Portland, in so many ways. As they’re continuing to show up, they’ve asked that the larger community show up for them and walk with them as they navigate the overwhelm of distance learning. While we desperately want kids in our mentorship relationships to thrive when it comes to academics, we also deeply desire for parents to feel empowered. In this family we are so grateful for ways Mom and Dad are able to better understand the distance learning process, communicate with schools, and help their kids in the ways they want to be able to help their kids out as they all get into this new season together.
While we often have the honor of walking alongside many families in our city as they resettle, we also have the privilege of befriending and learning from adults that come here on their own without partners, extended family, or children. This past year, a single woman from a primarily Arabic speaking country landed in our city through resettlement. While this young woman faced and continues to face so many hurdles to feeling settled in this new space she finds herself in, the beauty of relationship is that she’s not alone. Shortly after coming to Portland, she was able to be matched with a long-term United Statsian that’s able to share in this journey with her!
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s happening throughout our Portland neighborhoods today. We know some and we’ll never hear of so many more. Some we’ll share and some we’ll hold close without ever writing about. We’re grateful for the ways you choose to take them to heart today as you’re shaped by the stories of new neighbors in our midst.