Celebrating Dignity, and Other Personal Acts of Audacious Humanity

When I asked previously about everyday heroes, my father reminded me of a very specific example of communities working together and having a huge impact on the lives of one family fleeing a war torn country.

He pointed out that one of the ways the Canadian Government supports refugees is encouraging private citizens to sponsor refugees for their first year, and that our good family friends Mike and Jill, have joined with four other Calgarians to do just that. According to the Government of Canada, the Private Sponsor of Refugees program allows groups of five Canadians "to support the refugees for the length of the sponsorship. This includes help for housing, clothing and food, as well as social and emotional support.” And as Mike pointed out in an email, "The family goes through extensive screening processes i.e. background security checks, two interviews, detailed histories on each member of the family, rigorous medical screening, before being approved by the government."

Private sponsorship of a refugee family is no small commitment, with each of the sponsors needing to fund a large sum of support to provide all necessities, including a monthly income and a place to live for the first year of being in Canada. For their part, Mike and Jill organized a fundraiser that raised $10,000. Overall, their group has raised $45,000 for this family. As my Dad wrote, "One of my best friends and his wife are actively doing something for the betterment of mankind, specifically for a family from a war-torn country."

And yes, this is in Canada, where the federal government has facilitated a program to connect refugees with willing and able private citizens who want to sponsor them. And I recognize that the American federal government isn’t exactly encouraging this kind of community support at the moment.

But that doesn’t mean that acts of enormous kindness and compassion aren’t happening in communities across the States. CNN covered how Los Angeles religious leaders have created an underground network of sorts to "shelter hundreds, possibly thousands of undocumented people in safe houses across Southern California.” Churches across the country are pledging they will be sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants targeted by ICE. And a Muslim group raised over $100,000 to repair a Jewish Cemetery targeted by vandals.

With so much bad, we have to be reminded of how much good there is in individuals, and in communities.

So here’s to fighting the good fight, defending the defenseless, and always celebrating the dignity for your fellow humans.

Shabbat Shalom, my darlings. I appreciate you.