Tag Archives: refugee crisis

Paying It Forward For Refugees

Last week, “06880” told the story of Josh Kangere, a refugee from the Republic of Congo who has found work at Sugar & Olives — and the beginnings of a new life in America.

Today there’s another hopeful tale, of another Congolese immigrant here.

Three years ago, a man named David was granted refugee status. He came to Bridgeport, found work in Milford, and established himself. Last week — thanks to the International Institute of Connecticut — he was reunited with his wife Anathalie.

He also got to hold his son Christian for the first time. When David left Africa, the boy had not yet been born.

The Nestor family of Weston heard David’s story from Sue Ingall, a fellow Westonite who sets up refugee houses with volunteers from 4 area churches: Christ & Holy Trinity and the Unitarian Church, both in Westport; Norfield Congregational in Weston, and Greenfield Hill Congregational in Fairfield.

They were touched, and wanted to do something special. So Samantha, Mike, Finn and Gavin gathered furniture and children’s toys, and headed to Bridgeport on Saturday morning to meet the family.

David and Anathalie with the Nestor family.

It was a special day for everyone. Saturday was the birthday of Samantha’s grandmother Fay, after whom their son Finn is named. A refugee herself, she escaped the Russian pogroms nearly 100 years ago, with her mother and sisters.

Fay, like Christian, was separated from her father for years. She and the rest of her family journeyed to New York, where eventually they were all reunited.

They were the only members of their family to escape from Russia. Their cousins, uncles and extended family were all murdered by the Nazis.

Despite the mass executions, abductions, mutilations and rapes that are almost daily occurrences in Congo, David’s and Anathalie’s faces are filled with gratitude and hope.

And the Nestors were happy to connect their own family’s story with David’s.

(This Sunday [March 12, 3 p.m., Bessemer Center, Bridgeport] IICONN will hold a Rally for Unity and Resilience to Stand with Refugees and Immigrants. Speakers include Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy. Click here for information on the Facebook page.)

Theo Koskoff: “Welcome, Refugees!”

Theo Koskoff is too young to vote.

But the Staples High School junior knows how to make his voice heard.

And he knows how social media can amplify that voice, loudly and powerfully.

Using Facebook, Theo organized a peaceful protest. It took place today in New York — at Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.

Theo set up a page — #RefugeesWelcomeSit-In — and posted:

Trump just won, and many of us will end up okay. But many will not. He has complete control over the amount of refugees coming into our country. Right now there are more than 65.3 million refugees around the world, more than half of whom are children. If you care about humanity, come to this peaceful sit-in at Trump Tower in NYC. This is not an anti-Trump protest, it’s a pro-refugee message to the President-Elect of the United States. We will show love, not hatred. #NYCsayswelcome #welcomerefugees

It was more of a positive message to refugees than a protest against the president-elect. Passersby joined in, and tons of people took photos.

Theo Koskoff (right), at the protest he organized today at Trump Tower.

Theo Koskoff (right), at the protest he organized today at Trump Tower.

Feedback was largely positive.

No word on what the target of the event — enjoying Thanksgiving in Palm Beach — thought.

People old and young joined Theo Koskoff's protest.

People old and young joined Theo Koskoff’s protest…

... Some were very young...

… Some were very young…

... but all had a welcoming message for refugees.

… but all had a welcoming message for refugees.