I first left home as a 6-year-old to attend boarding school at a beach town in Vietnam. I have memories of things like tear gas. I have one memory in particular of all of us kids from my boarding school standing outside where the breeze was strongest, against our chain-link fence, looking out at the brilliant ocean which was like a sheet of tinfoil in the sun, crying because of the gas. I distinctly remember NOT being sad—I remember it as an adventure. Sure it hurt. It was also very exciting.Read More
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that, probably because I grew up in a war, I tend to have an air-raid siren going off in my head. Sometimes it’s in the distance, other times not. Sometimes it fixates on the most trivial of things. We don’t always get to choose what’s in our heads. Maybe we don’t choose what we’re afraid of either.Read More
This one has a beautiful bird who neither sows or reaps or writes grants or makes granola or handles HR or IT. She’s openly vulnerable, glorious, somehow protecting or maybe just celebrating the lovers in their red refuge. (Egg? or nest? or—I know I read things into Chagall in part because he was a refugee. I’m taking it as that place of creative safety that so many refugees, and all of us who resonate with their experience, long for in our souls.)Read More
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..Read More
When we first decided to re-brand I’ll confess I thought of re-branding as clothes shopping. Since our clothes were getting old, we needed to do what people do especially in our culture: get out to Old Navy or Macy’s and get some new ones. A new logo. Some new labels. A new web site. New colors.Read More
He has olive skin, jet black hair and speaks the same language as the people who carried out the 9/11 attacks. He is Muslim and his wife wears a scarf that covers all but her face. He is from a country that most Americans view as an enemy and he now lives in the US.
When he was young, he received an advanced degree and looked forward to a successful career. He got married and started a family. And then one day everything started to change. War had broken out across his homeland.Read More
Okay, pantophobia or not, there are at least a few things I’m not afraid of.
Like, Turks, for example.
Let me explain: Earlier this month I visited my father who now lives in Basel, Switzerland. Basel is a beautifully quaint, sophisticated, cosmopolitan place with historic fountains, ancient Roman ruins, and modern pharmaceutical factories. Nearly everybody I met had traveled widely and spoke English. And yet, I kept overhearing the same kinds of worry-mongering that we’re used to hearing in the US about the dangerous lower-income immigrant section of town. Who knew?! Turks. Turks not learning German. Turks not assimilating. Turks keeping their wives under lock and key. (And don't get me wrong--I don't mean this as Swiss-bashing. The Swiss have far more refugees per capita than the US.)Read More