A recent #ChicagoTribune featured an article on the work of the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance in addressing the mental health challenges of the refugee community. At the heart of this work are the Mental Health First Aid Training sessions provided to other agency colleagues, community members, and clients to raise awareness of the mental health needs of the refugee community, and to put in place Mental Health First Aid Providers who can offer insight, intervention,and compassion at a time of crisis. We received a seed grant from the Asian Giving Circle to provide the initial trainings but we need your financial support to keep providing this training and our many other ways we care for the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee community in Chicago and beyond.
Thank you for supporting MIRA and please consider a year-end gift to continue this compassionate, knowledgeable, culturally-competent, and much needed care for the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee community and all who come through our doors.
Thanks to all who came out for our Grand Opening and 10th Anniversary Celebration. We also unveiled our new name: The Iraqi Mutual Aid Society is now the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance! We are excited to include more members of the community in our work as we move forward to easing transition, building community, and preserving Middle Eastern culture in Chicago!
The Board and staff wanted a name that reflected all that we do here, and built on that community of support we have grown over the last ten years. Through a grant from the National Network of Arab American Communities, we worked with our consultant Geri Tauber, who brought both a lifetime of experience with branding and marketing, and a love for this organization going back to the beginning. We held a series of focus groups meeting with Board members, staff members, clients, community members, partner agencies, and donors over the last 4 months to identify what are the key themes of what we do here, and how we can best share our mission and vision with the larger community.
Based on these conversations, and with a strong commitment to staying connected to our heritage as an organization as well as opening our doors wider to serve the whole Middle Eastern community, we are pleased to announce our new name, MIRA, the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance. Our logo is a group of people standing together to support one another, and we are excited to be part of that support and invite all of you here to join us in supporting Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees.
A key part of building community is equipping members to serve as leaders who practice compassion, ensure the voices of men and women are heard, and work to bring their strengths to support the group. Congratulations to a great group of Servant Leaders who finished their training Friday and are ready to share their skills with their neighbors!
MIRA supports and is supported by the US Office of Refugee Resettlement program that provides a safe haven for human beings who must flee their home countries because of violence, oppression, and civil war. The administration has announced that it is cutting the maximum number of refugees to be admitted to the United States next year to 18,000, down from over 100,000 in 2016. It is unconscionable that this is happening in the midst of one of the largest refugee crises in history. Thank you Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Jan Schakowsky for speaking up against the cruelly low Federal Refugee Admissions cap of 18,000 that is planned for 2019-20. Many of our clients have family they are separated from, parents and children they cannot see again, because they cannot be admitted to the US as refugees under such a low cap. As our elected officials said yesterday, it is inhumane and un-American to stop offering safe harbor for human beings whose lives are disrupted by civil war, oppression, and genocide.