The Importance of Maintaining our Identity as a Nation That Welcomes Refugees

November 24, 2015 Julie Fisher-Rowe

Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

Creating a community that values the contributions of all of us is a fundamental American value. In times of conflict and uncertainty, it becomes even more important that we honor this value.

But, since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, America is seeing an escalation of anti-refugee and anti-Islamic rhetoric that violates some of our country’s most closely held values.

A refugee child of Syrian descent smiles

It is crucial for us to respond with values-based messaging on the importance of maintaining our identity as a nation that welcomes refugees of all religions, races, and backgrounds. Working together, we can continue to build powerful narratives based on our shared values of opportunity, equal justice, and community. We have already begun shifting the conversation on many fronts, from LGBTQ rights and home opportunity to criminal justice, and we can succeed again.

It is crucial for us to respond with values-based messaging on the importance of maintaining our identity as a nation that welcomes refugees of all religions, races, and backgrounds. 

Below, we offer some messaging resources that can help you respond to and counter the vitriolic discourse. We also link to some of our partners, who have already spoken out using powerful values-based messaging. One such example is 2012 Communications Institute Fellow Linda Sarsour, who shared this bold message on MSNBC:

“[The Syrian refugees] have seen trauma, they've seen torture. They have seen things unfathomable that we as Americans will probably never experience. And here we are telling them, nope, can't come to our country. Can't see some normalcy in your life. You can't see safety. This is not the American way. This is not what we're known for... Our country is known to be welcoming to refugees. Our Statue of Liberty continues to be a symbol of welcoming immigrants into this country.”

Read more on what our partners have to say, download our messaging guidance, and continue to work with us in creating a powerful shared narrative based on values we cherish as a nation: opportunity and equal justice for all.

Messaging Guidance:

Partner Resources: