Memphis, We Belong Here

thoughts from the march in Memphis

Posted by Scovia Wilson on February 2nd, 2017

Fleeing ethnic and religious violence amidst the civil war in southern Sudan, I never imagined to feel so saddened and heartbroken about a place I was taught was the land of the free. A land I was taught was the greatest country and society on the planet.

Moving from southern Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya with my family, we had to move again to Uganda for safety, education, and a slightly better life. Life as a refugee in a camp is certainly not something I would ever wish upon someone; however, due to desperate situations, that was my family’s only hope.

Moving to the United States of America, a land full of immigrants, was the dream all the refugees and immigrants my family and I encountered dreamed of. The mere thought of living in a country that I watched on television that was perceived as fantastic, knowledgeable, and friendly seems like a distant memory now. My family and I moved to the States to live a peaceful life free of fear and terror. After what has been going on lately, that fear seems to be creeping back.

Memphis, We Belong Here by Operation Broken Silence on 500px.com

Attending the Memphis We Belong Here march, I felt and saw my fellow refugees and immigrant friends march for what they believed in: peace and justice for all. Being around them and reading the signs they held up reminded me of the love and care my friends and family pour into me daily. It reminded me that people are fearful not because it’s logical but because it’s emotional.

Refugees are already vigorously vetted before they can come to the United States. It saddens me to think that the place to which my family and I fled that saved us from being massacred is now that place that is treating us refugees and immigrants unfairly.

I stood with my fellow refugees, immigrant friends, coworkers, and the Memphis community because I know how they feel. I am a refugee. I work every single day at Operation Broken Silence to heal my still broken homeland. I understand what it feels like to be viewed as an outsider. It is heartbreaking. I believe it is important to stand with refugees and immigrants because the moment one begins to fear them is the moment that they begin to dehumanize them.

Memphis, We Belong Here by Operation Broken Silence on 500px.com

I believe that it is possible to teach people to turn their fears into something positive. I witnessed it at the march. If we remain open-minded to feel what other refugee or immigrants feel, that fear of them will slowly disappear.

We are all humans. We are all immigrants and refugees of some sort. We belong to one another as a community. Marching here in Memphis reminded me of how important it is to protect the vulnerable, no matter what they look like, and to give them the dignity that is so often taken away from them.

We are all our brothers and sisters keepers whomever they may be. I believe that our love for all people demands that we always promote peace and justice in a world that is surrounded by so much hatred, conflict, and violence.

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About Scovia Wilson

Originally from southern Sudan before independence, Scovia fled her country as a young girl during the war, grew up as a refugee, and eventually ended up in Memphis, TN to pursue a higher education. 

A public relations professional by trade, Scovia now leads our efforts to introduce people to the crisis in Sudan and mobilize them for action. She recruits fundraisers, activists, event hosts, and donors to our movement for peace and justice in Sudan. Her positive attitude and passion are contagious to all who hear and meet her. 

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The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is working to accelerate their ability to generate lasting change through storytelling, education, advocacy, and emergency relief programs. Sudan is one of the countries that the Trump Administration has banned refugees from. Here are a few positive ways you can support Sudanese refugees right now:

1. Call Your Representative and Senators. Please call your federal elected officials at their local office that is nearest to you. State your name, zip code, and that you are calling on them to publicly oppose the Trump Administration's ban on refugees. If you are not sure who your Representative and Senators are, FIND THEM HERE »

2. Give To Sudanese Refugee Education. For more than two years, our organization has supported a small school for Sudanese refugee children from the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. You can help grow these children get the eduction they deserve by giving to this school. MAKE A DONATION »

3. Support Sudanese Programs Monthly. You can also support a number of other lifesaving programs in Sudan by giving a few bucks a month. LEARN MORE »

Tags: Sudan, refugees, immigrants, get involved

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