The Refugee Interest Group was organized in October 2016 to identify and implement ways to support refugees in Birmingham, AL, and around the world.  After reaching out to other faith-based groups and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the group has expanded and has a new name: The Birmingham Interfaith Refugee Ministry. Still a part of the church’s Justice Committee, the group is reaching out to many other faith-based groups in Birmingham in order to become even more effective in our work!  Learn about the history of our group.

Areas of focus include education, advocacy, and direct action.  Some of our previous and ongoing efforts include:

We are a growing group looking for volunteers to help with and lead various projects and efforts.  If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, contact refugee@uucbham.org.  Ways to get involved include:

  • Signing up for our listserv to learn about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and more.
  • Attending our monthly meetings.
  • Volunteering to help with or lead one of the projects above.
  • Donating to support refugee families in Birmingham (include “Justice Committee/Refugee Support” as the purpose of your donation). Donations are tax-deductible.

See upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and more on our Facebook page.

What can you do to help support refugees?

Rooted in the promise of American’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right, and no one is illegal. According to UNHCR, there are more than 50 million refugees around the world, half of which are women and children. Refugees represent some of the most vulnerable, but resilient members of society. Approximately 60,000-70,000 are resettled in the United States each year. The United Nations Refugee Convention defines a refugee as someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution in their own country, because of their race, religion, nationality, or political or social affiliation. In other words, refugees are ordinary people trying to escape war, persecution and horror. Most of these refugees come from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, three of the countries on the “banned list” issued by President Trump, currently under review by the courts. The current ban has thrown the refugees and the refugee resettlement agencies into a crisis as they decide how to respond.

How can you help?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Educate yourself about the Refugee Crisis. Here are some great websites to start with:
  1. Contact one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies that are approved by the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Resettlement program to provide financial support or learn about other ways that you can help. These agencies work with over 350 affiliate programs throughout the United States. There is only one refugee resettlement program in Alabama, affiliated with the Catholic Social Services agency in Mobile.Refugee Resettlement Agencies Approved by U.S. Department of State
  1. Provide direct support to help refugee families in Mobile working with the Catholic Social Services Agency Refugee Resettlement Program by purchasing needed items through their Amazon gift registry.
  1. Advocate to support refugees. A great resource is the S. Refugee Council.
  1. Join a global movement launched by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and sign the petition to support refugees.
  1. Reach out to immigrants and refugees and make Birmingham a welcoming city for all!

Contact: Lynda Wilson