Update from the Ground
by Daphne Morgen
Today marks the last day of 4 weeks of Youth UnMuted workshops in Northern Greece. This week has been a mix of dark and light. As a team, we witnessed a reality and experience that for many youth has become the norm. We were TOLD, not asked, to leave the location where we were running our workshop with a group of 25 youth because of intolerance, racism, and fear.
"You have 3 minutes, make them disappear."
Yesterday was World Refugee Day, and for me, this is intensely personal. I've spent the past 2.5 years working with refugee youth, rolling out programs in dozens of refugee camps, hearing story after story of displacement, journeys, resilience, and situations that no young person should ever have to endure. And still, the kindness, generosity, insight, and love that I have witnessed in them give me hope for the future generations.
And guess what? They're not going to "disappear." How they integrate and experience the world is in large part up to all of as as citizens, neighbors, and community members. Who we vote for, what rhetoric and conversations we allow to take place in our everyday lives — it's on all of us.
This week has been a shameful reminder to our team that we, as a society, require significant education and dialogue when it comes to displaced people. We emphasize teaching our children to be kind, to share with one another, and not to be bullies, yet it is clear that we need to have this conversation with adults more than ever. NO ONE is excused from the moral obligation to stand up for the youth of this world.
This negative experience only fuels our passion for this work, driving us to work harder and elevate the voices of displaced youth in order to aid integration and combat hate. We hope you’ll take a moment today and reflect on what you can do to uplift displaced individuals, not just on World Refugee Day, but every day.