In partnership with the Islamic Association of West Virginia, WVIRM is excited to announce the WVIRM/IAWV Educational Scholarship Program. The program will award grants to some of the newest West Virginian refugee, asylums, non-US citizen immigrants and Temporary Protected Status students in our beloved Mountain State. Criteria to be eligible to apply for an award, and information about the application process, as well as forms are available on our new webpage here WVIRM/IAWV EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Please follow us on Facebook and here at our WVIRM website for lots of opportunities this summer! We are planning to participate in Charleston WV’s Artwalk and other summer events so you can learn more about doing our part to aid the rising number of refugees worldwide! In other WVIRM news, we continue to work on our local and overseas refugee scholarship programs – stay in touch to learn more!
The WV House Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to consider HB 4555 this afternoon (Feb 14, 2018) This is a particularly ugly bill aimed at demonizing refugees. Call Chairman Jim Butler at 304 340-3199 and tell him to take HB 4555 off the agenda because all kinds are welcome here in WV.
Great time at WV State Capitol advocating for refugees on Civil Rights lobby day! WVIRM’s president, Veep and Communications Director were at the WV State Capitol on Feb 8, 2018 at a table with information and postcards to sign advocating for refugee admissions and aid. While many who stopped by our table were already supporters, we also had people stop by who were initially fearful about refugees. They asked like “what about the vetting?” and “will refugees be a burden?” After hearing about the 5 federal agencies and the lengthy (at least 2 years) vetting process, as well as the economic benefits of refugees in welcoming communities like Cleveland, Utica NY etc., some said the new information changed their minds and opened their hearts! Here’s a pic of the signed postcards we are sending to Congress!
Image Posted on Updated on
Please visit our WVIRM Table at the WV State Capitol this Thursday February 8 for All Kinds Welcome Lobby Day! Stop by to say hello and learn about our recent efforts to help refugees, and what you can do to help. Hope to see you there!
August 30, 2017
We are saddened by the State Department’s decision not to resettle refugees in our area next year, but the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry is not closing our doors and we are not giving up. We are already beginning conversations on moving forward in new ways to fulfill our mission of “Striving to improve the lives of refugees.”
We have worked for almost two years to organize a movement dedicated to refugee resettlement, welcome, and promoting interfaith respect, compassion and understanding. Our network of supporters continues to grow, and fills us with confidence that West Virginians realize that supporting refugee resettlement is not only an American tradition; it is the right thing to do.
We stand proudly with them, with our friends throughout our state, and we echo the words of our Executive Director Antigona Mehani: “While we will not be fortunate enough to serve refugees who are seeking shelter and freedom in Charleston, I am committed to stand up and fight for refugees by educating and advocating through proper channels and venues so that we can remove the stigma and fear that our society has shown towards the world’s most vulnerable. So I ask each and every one of you to support its WVIRM’s mission and join us in ‘striving to improve the lives of refugees.’ We remain hopeful. We look forward with courage and strength, focused on our mission of improving the lives of refugees everywhere.”
“I am so very pleased to know that the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has approved the application for refugee resettlement in Charleston, West Virginia, submitted by Episcopal Migration Ministries on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry (WVIRM). West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry is a local coalition – a grass-roots, interfaith and cross-cultural association of some truly terrific people – which has worked hard over the recent months to tell the story of the welcoming hearts of their community. Thanks to the compassion and commitment of this group, the refugee resettlement program (which will begin its life as a program of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia) will also be known as West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry. Episcopal Migration Ministries is excited to add this affiliate to our network of thirty other sites across the country, as hundreds of community groups, churches, families and individuals work tirelessly to provide a place of safety for those who have had to flee their homes because of war, persecution, or other violence.
“It is particularly heart-warming to me that this important step in the process of welcoming refugees comes as it does on the cusp of the commemoration and celebration of the birth of Jesus; for, as scripture tells us, it was not long afterwards that he himself became a refugee. Just as I cannot even begin to imagine the fear in the hearts of Joseph and Mary as they fled for their lives, neither can I imagine the fear of modern refugees as they flee their own particular circumstances. But just as strangers in a far away land offered refuge to the Holy Family, so too will the people of West Virginia offer refuge to those in need today.
Episcopal Migration Ministries looks forward to the days ahead as we continue walking in partnership with WVIRM. There is still much work to be done, but this is a blessed day, indeed!”
The Rev’d Canon E. Mark Stevenson
Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries
21 December 2016