• February 13, 2017

New York, NY, February 12, 2017.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt announced the start of the #ThisIsARefugee campaign on the heels of today’s National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees rally in New York sponsored by HIAS.

As the pre-eminent Jewish civil rights organization, ADL is launching the effort to bring to light how much refugees have given to make America the country it is today and underscore how short-sighted and contrary to American values a ban on refugees is.

“Refugees are not an abstraction, but real people who simply seek a better life – and for centuries, refugees and immigrants have built our nation,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “With this campaign, we wanted to put a face on the refugee issue so no one can forget how much refugees – of all faiths – have contributed to our country.” 

By using the #ThisIsARefugee hashtag on social media, anyone can tell their own story of coming to this country, the story of their family, or the story of anyone in their lives what was a refugee or immigrant. All stories – across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks – will then be streamed to a dedicated website, which also will have resources for other ways in which people can oppose the new Executive Order, keep abreast of developments in the courts and Washington, and learn more about the issue.

The campaign builds on ADL’s work to defend refugees, including filing two amicus briefs on behalf of plaintiffs opposing the ban, and numerous grassroots activities including organizing letters to policymakers.

ADL is co-sponsoring the National Day of Jewish Rallies for Refugees which is holding events in cities across the country, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Kansas City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. Supporters can find rally locations on HIAS’ Day of Action website. Supporters can also host a #ThisIsARefugee event or meetup in their own communities to help refugees, such as by organizing others, sharing refugee stories, and sending letters to their members of Congress.

“This ban against refugees is as short-sighted as it is discriminatory,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “We hope that through #ThisIsARefugee we can share what we in the Jewish community know far too well: it is dangerous to arbitrarily close doors on those seeking refuge on our shores.”