In collaboration with LIRS, LSG recently hosted the two-day Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy in Clarkston. Spearheaded by LSG staff members Meron Daniel and Aimee Zangandou, the academy was attended by former refugees resettled by LSG and a number of community members. LSG staff members led workshops alongside special guests from Women Watch Afrika, Amnesty International, the American for Civil Liberties Union, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and the Georgia Center for nonprofits on topics ranging from leadership to organizing and advocacy.
Throughout the course of the Leadership Academy, participants had the opportunity to put what they had learned to action. Attendees broke into small groups to meet with Clarkston City Council Member Awet Eyasu, Representative Hank Johnson, and Senator Johnny Isakson’s staffer to discuss their hopes and concerns. During the meetings, these refugee leaders made sure their elected officials were aware that the U.S. is not on track to meet its commitment of resettling 45,000 refugees this year and asked each official to join them in advocating for the U.S. to welcome at least 75,000 refugees in 2019. Officials were also asked to join the Refugee Caucus and sign a Dear Colleague letter expressing their support for refugees and immigrants publicly.
While networking and strategizing over delicious meals from Ebrik, Kathmandu Kitchen, Lidet, and Tena Mart, one refrain clearly emerged: “We need to do this again!”