We're thirteen or so days into Trump's presidency. A few days ago I realized that in order to know how to proceed, I needed to fast and pray. Every day of the presidency so far has been for me this combination of horror and action and panic and paralysis, like when you're watching someone be harmed right in front of you, or watching a house burn down. I know many of you have felt the same.
I'll be fasting and praying like this for a couple weeks, which I don't say to brag or something, but because I'm going to try to record here what I'm doing, because writing my life is something I can do, because sometimes journal entries matter, and whether this matters to anyone else it helps me.
So far, arising from the fasting and praying, I've realized that rather than trying to be up to date on every single awful thing that Trump & his cohorts are doing, I need to move toward the few things I best understand and care about, and devote time every day to those things. Which is, in my case, refugees. My great-grandparents were Romanian refugees who settled in Ohio. My grandparents cared for and helped resettle dozens of Russian and Romanian refugees in Michigan and Indiana. I grew up among displaced people in Palestine, and Holocaust survivors in Israel. In Oakland, I was privileged to teach Algerian, Eritrean, and Vietnamese refugees. Since moving to Sitka, I've investigated how to bring Syrian or Iraqi refugees to our small Alaskan town.
So, it's something I already know about, and have always cared about. My goal in the coming days is to fully understand the national and international refugee agencies, learn what Trump & co are up to, and then figure out what the heck I or anyone can do about it. I will report here everything I find. I'm mid-way through reading a 2017 Toolkit, put out by the Refugee Council USA, that I found at the local Episcopal Church here in Sitka. It's so helpful in understanding who qualifies as a refugee, how many refugees and displaced persons there are in the world, how to advocate for such people, and so on. I will write more as I know more.