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[sent to MoveOn members on Nov. 21]
Dear MoveOn member,
Over the last week, in the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut, we’ve seen many of our nation’s politicians rush toward fearmongering and bigotry. We have also seen MoveOn members and our partners at their very best—fighting fear with compassion on the streets, on the phones, in the halls of Congress, and all across America, from college campuses to community meetings.
Here’s an update on where we’ve been, together, over this last week—and where we are bringing our fight for justice in the weeks ahead.
While many of us reacted to the tragic events in Paris, Beirut, and around the globe with shock and grief, some American elected officials and candidates responded by waging a propaganda war against the very people who need our help most: refugee families fleeing from the same violence.
At least 30 governors declared they didn’t want to welcome refugee families into their states.1 The House of Representatives votedon Thursday to block resettlement of Syrians seeking safety in America.2 Presidential candidates suggested religious tests for refugees and shuttering mosques, and local politicians suggested internment camps.3
The genuine fear that arose after the attacks has, tragically, curdled into bigotry and backlash, fueled by fearmongers and stoked by xenophobes.
It’s frankly far worse than where we stood a week ago. Then, we were asking Congress to expand the Syrian refugee resettlement program to serve 100,000 people—still just a fraction of the 5 million refugees displaced by violence in Syria.
Now, we are struggling for the very right of refugees to be welcomed to our country, period. It feels, in a way, we’re struggling for the soul of our nation.
But although the ground has shifted, there is hope: MoveOn members and Americans of good conscience are speaking out, opening their hearts and their homes, and choosing compassion over fear. President Obama and Vice President Biden have shown tremendous leadership.4 Senate Democrats have so far stood together.
We are heading into a showdown when Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess—and if we work together, we can be ready for it.
As we head into Thanksgiving week, here’s some food for your soul: a few highlights of the brave and important work MoveOn members were a part of this week.
And in the coming days, MoveOn members—and a range of partners, from online organizations to groups that focus primarily on refugee resettlement and integration, and even evangelical Christian groups—will:
Our voices and collective action have never been more important than in this very moment.
In many of our emails, we ask you to do something: to sign a petition, donate to a campaign, call your representative, or attend an event. This time, we just wanted to share this report on the range of work we have already tackled together—and some of what we intend to do next. This is a big moment for our country and for the world. There is reason to feel despair at the events of the past week. And there are also so many reasons to feel hopeful—and to keep striving to make America a country that lives up to its values.
Thank you for all you do.
–Anna, Josh, Corinne, Ben W., and the rest of the team
“Donald Trump: ‘Strongly consider’ shutting mosques,” CNN, November 16, 2015
“Roanoke mayor apologizes for suggesting internment for Syrian refugees,” The Washington Post, November 20, 2015
4. “Obama calls idea of screening Syrian refugees based on religion ‘shameful,’ defends White House strategy,” The Washington Post, November 16, 2015
5. “Hassan criticized for position on Syrian refugees,” New Hampshire Union Leader, November 17, 2015
6. “Activists demand Snyder accept Syrian refugees” The Detroit News, November 19, 2015