I'm calling her Hope, but that is not her real name. It seems that even in America, some people now need be afraid to show their faces in public.
Hope is five years old and she comes from a country where it is dangerous to have your photo in the paper and she has come to a country where it is not supposed to be dangerous to have your photo taken, but somehow, it now is.
So I can't tell you much about her, except that her family has been thoroughly screened, and has suffered greatly. They worked and waited for years to come here, they are here legally.
(Donations of the day: Amazon Gift Cards, Rolling Cart – from $20 to $50. Also pre-paid phone cards, $6)
They are frightened and confused by the hysteria sweeping the country – our newest national witch hunt – about refugees. They have lost everything, and are so grateful for your help – your donations bought all of the things in the photograph that they so desperately need. Simple things, the tools of living: a shopping cart, a hand vacuum cleaner, a care seat and soccer ball for Hope. Her family wanted you to see what you have done.
The special Amazon Refugee Gift Page was set up by the U.S Committee on Refugees And Immigration, it is easy to use. Donations of needed items can be made for as little as $6.
Hope's parents are so touched by your support that they put aside their fears and agreed to let me put her photo on the blog. I have agreed to say nothing more about her right now. I wanted you to see what the big tough governor of 19 states and the big tough men in Washington are so afraid of, and are so determined to keep out of our country.
I am learning to re-think my ideas about courage.
I am grateful to Anne O'Brien Carelli, who has been working so tirelessly on behalf of refugees in the Albany, N.Y., area, for trusting me with this work and helping me meet with these refugees, my brothers and sisters in America. These are the people our government has decided must be kept out of our country, out of this new vision of America.
Today, I am happy to introduce you to Hope, the first of the refugees I can introduce you to. I hope to learn more about her. I am broken-hearted to see that in my country, the world's first democracy, being photographed is now also considered too dangerous for innocent people, as is the case in Syria and Afghanistan.
Hope and the other refugees desperately need your help, now more than ever. You have been remarkably generous, showing these people what American values really are. I do not wish to spend my time arguing with people who cannot hear me or don't wish to talk with me, I want to show my own soul and do good.
Your generosity is unprecedented, the refugee officials and volunteers – they are working so hard – are overwhelmed with gratitude, they are as shocked as they are busy. You are filling up their warehouse every day.
Donating to these families is inexpensive, easy to do and the essence of doing good in a positive way in a divided world. You don't need anyone else's agreement or approval. Your beliefs are not an argument. You can help right where you sit. Your donations go straight to the people who need them, every penny.
Thanks to you, Hope's family has a car seat and pots to cook in, a cart to shop with, and she has a soccer ball to hold and play with, a comforting reminder of home for her. You have made an enormous difference in their lives. It is not simple to come to a strange country with little more than the clothes on your back.
So this is the first of a continuing series of pieces about the truth about our refugees – who they really are, and how much love and support they need and deserve. If you wish, you can help them here. You can't imagine the difference you have already made, and thanks.
And welcome to the Army Of Good. Thanks for showing up.
(Amazon Gift Cards are appreciated, they take up less space in a crowded warehouse.)