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Together, we are rebuilding communities of love and welcome.

An Open Letter

[Summary Letter Here]

To the people we serve at World Relief,

We want to express our unwavering support to you and express our deep grief over the events of January 6th, when a group of rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol. The scenes we all witnessed left us feeling sick and unsettled and were reflective of the divisions that the country is facing.

We acknowledge that many of you may be fearful as you witnessed violence, terrorism, anarchy, and instability — all resembling the dynamics you may have left behind in your countries of origin, and which you never expected to face again in the United States. We also acknowledge that refugees and immigrants have often borne the brunt of a hostile political narrative that has discounted or diminished the validity of your story and experience and your tremendous contributions to our country.

We also recognize that at least some of the confirmed perpetrators of the attack espoused explicitly racist and white supremacist views. We grieve that the response from law enforcement to this attack stood in stark and unjust contrast to the violence with which largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality were met in the past year. We know that you may be seeing and experiencing historical events unfold that are often checkered with racism and bias against people of color. And the American church has been complicit in perpetuating untruths that do not affirm the image of God in every person. We want to recognize that we, as part of the church, have often placed an allegiance to a distorted vision of our country over our commitment to God. But, the view of the people we saw at the Capitol building does not represent the view of all Americans. In fact, Christ calls us to be peacemakers and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We know pursuing peace is not a passive act but an active one that seeks the good of our neighbors and our communities.

We condemn in the strongest terms the riots last Wednesday and the scourge of conspiracy theories, anti-democratic misinformation, and white supremacy that plague our nation. The continued assault on truth, decency, and our basic democratic ideals is not just emanating from the far corners of our society but carried out from the highest levels of government.

We mourn the lives that were lost in the violence and grieve the ongoing trauma that refugees, immigrants and people of color, in particular, experience in this country. At the same time, we commit to continue our work in creating welcoming, just communities where you and your families can find safety and thrive.

We pray for peace, for reconciliation, and for justice and accountability for those who perpetrated the violence in our nation’s capital last week. We pray for truth, decency, and the rule of the law to prevail. We pray that there will be no further bloodshed and that a peaceful transition takes place. And beyond that, we pray that the seeds of division and discord begin to wither in the light of truth.

Most of all, we are praying for you. We are praying for your families to be safe during this time and for you to continue to find a welcoming and loving community that represents the best that this country has to offer.

We do not write today because we have answers to offer but, as an organization that has served over 400,000 people like you and whose staff is composed of many refugees and immigrants, we want to affirm our commitment to continue serving you as best as we can. To that end, please do not hesitate to reach out at any time to any of our staff if you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to speak with. Please note our list of local offices on our website at www.worldrelief.org/us-locations.

We thank you for allowing us to journey with you and believe we can work together to contribute to the healing this land needs. We want you here. We recognize you. We stand with you.

With respect and affection,

World Relief Chicagoland

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