Empowering Women World Wide, the ad hoc interfaith coalition of Northern Westchester women, is holding a community forum on Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 PM, at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester (31 Glengary Road, Croton-on-Hudson, NY) to learn about the Syrian refugee crisis, the global response, and what we can do locally to help. We will also assemble school kits to be distributed to children in need world-wide. The coalition includes women from Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, Asbury United Methodist Church, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Hudson Valley in Croton, and the Upper Westchester Muslim Society in Thornwood.
We are facing the most pressing refugee crisis since World War II, with millions of refugees worldwide. In Syria, anti-government protests have led to ongoing civil war since 2011, causing about 13.5 million people to flee from their homes. Reports on the casualties estimate that one million people have been wounded. The New York Times reported in February that 470,000 people have been killed. In March, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an opposition group based in England, reported the deaths of more than 13,000 children and 8,000 women in the conflict.
The United Nations Refugee Agency wrote, “by the end of 2014, Syria had become the world’s top source country of refugees, . . .with 95% located in surrounding countries.” These include: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. We’ve all seen horrifying pictures of their plight in refugee camps, and of those attempting to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe. 75% of the Syrian refugees are women and children.
Speakers will address the Syrian refugee crisis–with attention to women and children refugees, the impact of the crisis on the countries to and through which the refugees are fleeing, and the global (including that of the United States) response. Local action we can take to respond will also be addressed.
Following the program those who wish will remain to assemble school kits, which will be distributed by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to refugee children in need.
The speakers and program include:
~Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer: Community Engagement, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
~Sana Mustafa: a Syrian activist who was granted political asylum in the U.S. During the week of our program Sana will celebrate her graduation from Bard College.
~ Local clergy and leaders will speak about action to inform our community about the Syrian refugee crisis, UMCOR’s distribution of resources where needed, ways to help immigration agencies, urging our legislators to respond to the crisis, and a call to action.
For more information, please send an e-mail to [email protected]