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Statement in Support of Refugees and Newcomers

The UB School of Social Work recognizes the global scale of the refugee crisis and its impact on communities and countries around the world. We, the faculty, staff and students signed below, stand in solidarity with Syrian refugees and others fleeing conflict and unlivable circumstances.

In the spirit of our trauma-informed and human rights-based curriculum, we recognize the human rights of refugees to migrate, resettle, and pursue a safe and secure future. We also realize the widespread impact of trauma and emphasize the importance of psychological safety for refugees. As a school of social work, we promote potential pathways of recovery that will empower refugees, including policy change, improved services, and greater public engagement with the experiences of refugees.

We denounce the racist, islamophobic, and xenophobic statements and legislative actions taken by U.S. elected officials and public figures. We encourage others to see past toxic politics to recognize refugees as individuals and families whose suffering cannot be tolerated.

We welcome refugees and immigrants, recognizing the innumerable benefits that newcomers bring to our communities. Refugees and immigrants have brought diverse perspectives, skills, and contributions to our nation, built new businesses and cultural centers, stemmed the tide of population loss, and promoted the development of neighborhoods, rebuilding communities throughout the United States, as they have done for generations.

We see the migration of Middle Eastern and Syrian refugees as similar to other migrations from other regions and nations. Our shared histories show us both times when we’ve opened our arms to those in need and other times when we’ve succumbed to the politics and policies of oppression and exclusion. Our professional ethics compel us to recognize and support the movement to defend the human rights of all people and so we stand in solidarity with these and other refugees. We encourage others to do so as well. While Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees are currently in the news, their experiences are not dissimilar to numerous migrations from other regions and nations. The oppression and exclusion of these latest newcomers echoes earlier stories from our shared histories. It is in a spirit of solidarity that we join with refugees. Our professional ethics compel us to recognize and support the movement to defend the human rights of all people.

Signed by

Hilary Weaver Faculty
Filomena Critelli Faculty
Laura Lewis Staff
Diane Elze Faculty
Patricia Logan-Green Faculty
Laina Bay-CHeng Faculty
Patricia Shelly Staff
Elizabeth Bowen Faculty
Nancy J. Smyth Faculty
Yunju Nam Faculty
Nadine Shaanta Murshid Faculty
Louanne Bakk Faculty
Gretchen Ely Faculty
Mickey Sperlich Faculty

Student Signatures

Samantha Chambers

Brandy Loveland

Stephanie Sacco

Joelle Martin

Emily Christensen

Elizabeth Oddy

Kerry Battenfield

Marissa MacTurk

Kelli Dobmeier

Karen Szczesniak

Heidi Billittier

Sarah Richards-Desai

Asli Yalim