Times Article on Boise Refugees Eye-Opening and Thought Provoking
The NYTimes features an article— or more accurately a photo montage— by Angie Smith that pictures a dozen or so refugees who settled in Boise ID in various typical scenes of HS: proms, cafeterias, soccer sidelines, graduations, and with their families. The captions under each picture matter-of-factly describe their personal histories, their reasons for leaving their homelands, and the circumstances they currently find themselves. Having grown up in a small town in Chester County PA I couldn’t help but compare the lives of these teenagers to my life and the lives of teenagers I knew. No one I knew growing up had their families slaughtered or experienced death threats because of their families religious convictions or because their parents worked for the government. No one I knew growing up spent years living in a refugee camp without their parents. These teens all have heroic stories and all of them are finding their way in the world despite the extreme adversity they faced as children.
Boise ID comes across as heroic as well. One quote describing Boise’s acceptance of refugees was especially thought provoking:
Boise has been resettling displaced persons since 1975, when Idaho answered President Gerald R. Ford’s call to states to take in 130,000 Southeast Asians taking flight in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
In 1975 we had a Republican President who urged our country to take in 130,000 refugees from a country we unsettled as a result of our intervention…. but today we can’t get an agreement to accept more than 10,000 from the war town Middle East where our invasion of Iraq resulted in wars across the sub-Continent? If a small city in Idaho can absorb 1300 refugees— or roughly 5% of their total population— I have to believe schools across our country could take in a similar percentage.