Being A Voice For The Voiceless: A Congressional Briefing On Iraq And Syria
Last Thursday I was honored to participate as a panelist in a Congressional briefing titled, -The Ongoing Threat to Vulnerable Communities in Iraq and Syria – Challenges & Solutions.- This event, hosted by the International Religious Freedom Congressional Caucus, featured guest speakers from Open Doors USA, International Christian Concern, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. The briefing focused on the increasingly precarious plight of minority faith groups, including Christians, in Iraq and Syria. More than 90 Congressional staff members attended the briefing – more than double the average number of attendees for a typical religious freedom briefing on the Hill. I-m finding an increased interest in Congress on the plight of vulnerable refugees in Iraq and Syria, providing a great opportunity to share about the work of Open Doors in this area of the world. I spoke about my recent experiences visiting with Syrian refugees on the ground in Lebanon, and briefly described the work of Open Doors in assisting vulnerable refugees in Iraq and Syria. I discussed the long-term impact of the conflict on children, and described some of our priorities in these countries, including sponsoring schools and the creation of -child-friendly spaces,- where children in the midst of a horrifying conflict can have a safe space to play games, draw pictures, and simply be children. After the briefing, one Congressional staff member came up and thanked me for sharing firsthand stories about refugees from Syria. -I attend a lot of Congressional briefings and often listen to panelists describing facts and figures of the conflict,- she told me, -but it seems like you actually care about what is going on over there.- We have received an overwhelmingly positive response to this Congressional briefing, and a heightened interest in the work of Open Doors from our contacts on Capitol Hill. From relevant questions to follow-up meetings, we are finding a surge of new interest in helping those who are persecuted in this very volatile area of the world. Thank you for being a voice for those who are persecuted. Your voice matters – in your community, on Capitol Hill, and around the world. If you are interested in staying up to date on the work of Open Doors in advocacy, please join our advocacy email list. Thank you for your continued support!