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Rebecca Bell is a resident of Kalamazoo County, one of Michigan's 12 Welcoming Cities and Counties. She offers the following reflection on welcoming refugees... I have been amazed, encouraged and blessed by the outpouring of love and support for us and for this Congolese refugee family that is currently staying with us. I know that some of you would do exactly what we’re doing if you had been the ones presented with the need and had the space. Others of you are passionate about welcoming refugees and your desire to help springs out of that.

In honor of World Refugee Day, we have a special guest blog from Theresa Q. Tran, Executive Director of Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote - Michigan. Here is her powerful and inspiring story: I grew up in a family that embodied the American Dream. But I knew very clearly, even at a young age, that my family was different. Both my parents spoke with accents that sounded much different than most other parents in our Waterford, MI neighborhood. They also kept to themselves but their personalities shone when we were with other Vietnamese families.

Meet Jennie! She is an awesome leader and truly a welcoming ambassador. She manages a local TimeBank and shares our belief in the power of connecting neighbors to neighbors. Jennie has contributed so much to spreading the message of welcome in Chadsey Condon, a neighborhood of Southwest Detroit, as well as the surrounding communities. Thanks for everything you do Jennie! Here's her story: My name is Jennie, and I love Southwest Detroit! Although I live in Corktown I primarily work in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood, which has a Welcoming effort. I identify as black Irish.

My name is Daliesha and I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. The maternal side of my family migrated from Bolivar, Tennessee. My maternal great granddad was African American and Native American (Cherokee). My grandmother moved to Detroit after she graduated from high school to gain a better paying job. I moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor on a journey to pursue a college degree. Living in Ann Arbor has provided me with the opportunity to mix with people of different nationalities. I have met people from Africa, Asia, and Europe.


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