2017 Year-End Appeal

Thank you for being our customers and partners in mission. Thanks for making it possible to do things like hire Iman to do exactly what he is best at. We’d love your (tax-deductible) donation during this season so we can continue to train refugees (23 this year) and employ some like Iman. 

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Keith CooperComment
Excerpted from an address to Episcopal Charities

Many of us gathered here are inspired by the metaphor that a community functions as a body: made up of individuals yet creating a whole. If this is true, then we can't really know who we are unless we are thankful for those—the other body parts—around us.  A hand can’t ever be a foot; but it will be a happier, more humble, more curious, more effective and real hand when it begins to depend on that foot.  So that’s the invitation.  The warning is that if we ever participate in marginalizing other people—or start thinking we don’t need them—then we distort both our sense of ourselves and our sense of humanity.

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Surprisingly amicable self-interview Part 2: Barnett Newman, a blue chicken, the future of resettlement, and #Teamgranola.

I feel dark sometimes, but I don’t feel paranoid.  Beautiful Day is a tiny outpost on the periphery of the refugee galaxy and the US resettlement system, so nobody is out to get us, but we’ll need to be vigilant.  Our mission is going to be harder and harder to sustain if only because there will be fewer and fewer refugees arriving in the US, and thus in Providence. Meanwhile, the world population of refugees is growing rapidly.

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A surprisingly amicable self-interview Part 1: Ristening, hurricanes, DACA and an alternative metaphor.

She was talking about how some of the metaphors that working moms rely on like “a juggling act” serve them so poorly because who would ever want to live a life of constantly throwing the things you care most about in life up in the air and then trying to catch them again.  The alternative she proposed was “composing a life," which right away made me wonder if I could ever approach my work as composing or maybe creating a big art-project.

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If the light within you is darkness:

What are the stakes if the United States turns its back on the refugees of the world?  I expect a vicious cycle: increased generation of refugees, increasing retention of refugees in some of the world's poorest countries who are least equipped to care for them, increased hopelessness of these populations, increased turning to radical anti-western solutions, decreased exposure in our communities to refugees, decreased empathy and understanding..

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Every breaking wave

It’s good thing to be alone and small in the presence of breaking waves and shifting dunes and the incredible beauty of a cold fog when some of your life work seems threatened.  When I checked my phone, it told me I was walking in open ocean.  For some reason that made me laugh out loud. The whole peninsula had shifted east since Google maps recorded it.  I keep thinking about that now. I'm a little person. 

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Seasons Greetings Dear Friends

Perhaps you will remember or have heard about our stony-ground early days as a start-up non profit. We were teaching hidden people to make granola (of all things). I was a volunteer, and we were all wondering whether a small business had a chance to serve our grander purpose.  

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Keith Cooper 1 Comment
Three metaphors, three fake-Trump tweets

This tragedy felt close to home at so many levels.  Ohio State is my alma mater.  That street where it happened is close to where I used to catch the bus. Interesting how we want people to feel safe in places we know. In fact, my brother-in-law was on campus that morning, so my wife and I were texting him while we listened to the news in the car in Boston.  

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Semi-hostile, Slightly-Fantastic Interview with myself about the election and implications for refugee resettlement, Evangelical Christians, and Beautiful Day.

K: But what’s your best guess. Prognosticate.

K: My best guess is that on January 21, President Trump will issue an order to stop or pause parts of the US refugee resettlement program. No more Syrians.  Possibly fewer from camps and countries that are majority Muslim.  I’ve heard a few people wonder if the entire resettlement program could be paused.  My own view is that the new administration will put a moratorium on Syrians, Somalis, and maybe designate certain countries or camps as off-limits.  It’s kind of bleak.

K: What’s the rush? Can he do this? 

K: From what I understand, absolutely, yes.  He can't change the Refugee Act of 1980, but that law allows the president broad powers to determine or change the ceiling on the number of refugees that can legally be resettled in a given year.

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Muscles Matter

A couple months ago, on our way home from visiting my parents in Switzerland, Kathy and I spent a few days in Paris and a morning at the Rodin museum.  Next to Chagall, Rodin is my favorite artist. There are moments when I wonder if he might have benefited from a better sense of humor, but I love the way his sculptures reach past the anxious buzz of my mind and tell my soul how much people matter. Emotion matters, gestures matter, hands and feet matter, the interplay of bodies in space matter, the movement of a body—even in bronze and without a head (okay, he does have some sense of humor)—matter.  Muscles matter.  In a way that is message of Rodin for me: every muscle matters. 

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Refugees Compete in the Rio Olympics

“For the first time in Olympics history, a team of refugee athletes will band together in Rio de Janeiro this August to represent the 20 million people in the world who have no one country to call home...At recent press conferences, it has become clear that the men and women who comprise the team are united in a simple, yet powerful message they hope to get across to the world:

“ ‘We still are humans. We are not only refugees. We are like everyone in the world ... We didn’t choose to leave our homelands.’ "

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Paula and the Traveling Granola Bar

Providence Granola Project Entrepreneur Assistant Paula Cunanan doesn’t like to go far without access to one of the world’s tastiest granola bars. That’s why when she traveled through Europe volunteering at organic farms, she took along a good supply. Then, picking up on an idea of PGP Director of Strategic Partnerships Anne Dombrofski, she decided to post “Where In the World” photos of her traveling granola bars on PGP’s Facebook and twitter pages.

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Refugee Children Get Sesame Street

"Sesame Workshop and the IRC will adapt existing Sesame products and content for regions where the two organizations already have a presence working with young children and their families. ... The partnership is aimed at the children who make up half of the record 60 million people currently displaced around the world, specifically the one-third of that population under the age of eight."

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Our Friends in Utica, New York

“We shouldn’t need reminding, but we do,” the paper said. “The reminder is that refugees and immigrants are what make our nation strong. 

”If you look closely at those refugees and immigrants, you’ll see some familiar faces. Your grandparents, perhaps. Or your great-grandparents.”

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