Calls needed to Elected Officials regarding refugee crisis

From Felice Gelman:

Dear all,

The horrendous attack in Paris and the equally dreadful attacks in Beirut and Turkey have moved the spotlight of world concern from the plight of millions of refugees and displaced people to the fear of possible attacks in other western countries .  The daily cycle of news, however, has not changed the situation on the ground.  Hundreds of thousands of victims –innocent men, women and children — are fleeing war and violence in the Middle East.  Hundreds of thousands are literally washing ashore, living in terrible conditions in refugee camps and have no realistic hope of returning to homes that no longer exist.  

Now, more urgently than ever, we need to continue our efforts to do the right thing and to stand-up to the forces of fear and prejudice that are right now trying to close our doors in the face of desperate people and families.  We are asking each of you — the co-signers of our call to action for refugees — to take three actions: 

  1. Please call Senator Chuck Schumer to urge him not to vote to suspend or stop the current government program to resettle Syrian refugees.  A vote on this bill will come to the floor tomorrow (Nov. 19) so it is urgent you call his office in Washington, DC tomorrow morning.  You can reach Senator Schumer’s office at  (202) 224-6542
  2. Send a letter to Governor Cuomo thanking him for standing out among the his fellow governors and continuing to welcome the resettlement of refugees in our communities.    (See sample text and address below)
  3. Send a letter to Rep. Nita Lowey, the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee asking her to make a public statement supporting the resettlement of refugees in the U.S.  (See sample text and address below).

Please also continue your outreach to other organizations/institutions in your community and ask them to write as well.

Here is a sample text you could use for a letter to Gov. Cuomo.  Please feel free to copy it, edit it in any way you think appropriate and then email it to him at https://www.governor.ny.gov/contact

Please also send a hard copy to:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

or fax a copy to: 518-474-1513

and you can call 1-518-474-8390

Dear Governor Cuomo: 

 We thank you for the strong statement you made about our obligation to accept the resettlement of refugees from conflict zones without regard to their religion or place of origin.  We feel strongly that the United States must play a leadership role in addressing the world’s refugee crisis.  We cannot give in to fear and to demagoguery and abandon our values.  You have our unwavering support on this issue. 

 At the beginning of World War II, our nation faced a similar refugee crisis.  We made the wrong decision — we turned away tens of thousands of refugees and left them to death.  We can’t let this happen again.  Thank you again for your courageous stand and please continue to make it clear New York State welcomes those who need our protection. Our organizations are waiting, ready to welcome Syrian and other war displaced refugees to our communities.  

Thank you. 

and please take just a few more minutes and send a letter to Representative Nita Lowey, a Congressperson from Westchester.  She has not yet taken a stand on this issue and, as the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has been identified as the most important Congressperson on the issue.  A sample letter is below for your use.   You can email her at https://lowey.house.gov/contact/email

You can reach her at:

The Honorable U.S. Representative Nita Lowey

222 Mamaroneck Ave., #312

White Plains, NY 10605

Phone: (914) 428-1707

Fax: (914) 328-1505

Dear Representative Lowey,

We urge you to make a public statement that our country will continue to welcome the resettlement of refugees from conflict zones without regard to their religion or place of origin.  We feel strongly that the United States must play a leadership role in addressing the world’s refugee crisis.  We cannot give in to fear and to demagoguery and abandon our values.  

At the beginning of World War II, our nation faced a similar refugee crisis.  We made the wrong decision — we turned away tens of thousands of refugees and left them to death.  We can’t let this happen again.  Please take a courageous stand and make it clear New York State welcomes those who need our protection. Our organizations are waiting, ready to welcome Syrian and other war displaced refugees to our communities.  

Thank you.