Resettlement Story: World Relief Seattle and The John Perkins Center
The John Perkins Center at SPU serves at a place of intersection and connection between campus and the regional community, as a convener of students and organizations, leaders and academic thinkers, and of theory and practice. We seek opportunities to engage communities in dialogue and experiences that lead towards transformation, welcomes inclusion, and builds community.
With this project we seek to explore the question of how do we welcome our neighbor? by taking a look into a resettlement story. To fully engage a conversation of neighbor, we have had the privilege to learn from and work alongside World Relief Seattle, a regular community partner with the JPC. We hope that you will take time to build awareness, reflect and dialogue, as well as invest in opportunities for relationship building.
This webpage serves as a supporting resource and presents a snapshot of content taken from the walk through exhibit. To experience the full Resettlement Story, look for the exhibit on campus.
Resettlement Story Walk Through Exhibit
At different points in the year, a set of A-Board Frames will be set up around campus with a walk through display called the Resettlement Story. You are encouraged to walk through each board in order, review the information, engage the material through the interactions of links to videos/articles, and pause for reflection.
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is someone who as fled their home country and cannot return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular group.
Who is an asylum seeker?
An asylee is someone who meets the definition of refugee, but requests safety from within the U.S. or at a U.S. port of entry. An asylum seeker is someone whose request for safety is still in process.
Temporary terms: "Refugee", "migrant" and "asylum seeker" are temporary terms; they do not reflect the whole identity of people...but rather refers to one experience in their lives.
Persecution & Violence
Why might someone leave or flee?
Follow the link and watch Shekiba's story: Empower for Community
What does it feel like to have to prove your lived experiences and truths?
Making Your Case
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) identifies the most vulnerable refugees – those who have nowhere else to go – for resettlement and then makes recommendations to select countries. Once a refugee is recommended to the U.S. for resettlement, the U.S. government conducts a thorough vetting of each applicant. This process usually takes between 12 and 24 months.
World Relief Seattle: Who is a Refugee
“El Chaparral, the infamous plaza in Tijuana, located directly before the border crossing point of entry has essentially become a massive waiting room… an uncovered slab of concrete where people from all over the world wait, for weeks or months, before they are allowed to approach the U.S. border to apply for asylum.” - John Miller, Immigration Specialist at World Relief Seattle
World Relief Seattle Blog Post: Help at the Border
What is the longest or most complex process you have had to engage in order to obtain entrance or access into something?
Refugee Camp/Detention Center
For someone who applies for refugee status with the UNHCR, this waiting period might take place in a refugee camp or urban area. For those who request asylum at the U.S. border, they wait in an immigration detention center.
World Relief Seattle: World Relief provides initial resettlement and placement as well as employment, education and legal services for refugees arriving in the United States. Collaborating with local churches and volunteers, World Relief comes alongside families and individuals as they begin their lives in the U.S.
ICE Processing Center: Did you know that Tacoma is home to the 4th largest immigration detention center in the U.S. where there are people awaiting their asylum cases?
Bills and Legislation: This article from the Seattle Times that illustrates just how much policies matter.
Waiting and uncertainty in any capacity can be unsettling. Waiting for a prolonged period of time when it comes to life and safety is all the more pressing. Think of a time you have had to wait for something deeply meaningful and important. What was that like? How did your body feel as you waited in the unknown?
Arrival & Resettlement
The resettlement period lasts between 3-6 months, and is an intense time for refugees and asylees starting a new life in the U.S. After one year in the U.S. refugees and asylees are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Along with housing, job search, language learning, and other elements of re-establishing a home, World Relief Seattle also provides resiliency programs, next gen services, and extended casework.
Rebuilding a home involves community. People and resources within a community are an essential element to rebuilding a home.
Rebuilding Home with World Relief
Consider a time when your life has been uprooted and you had to establish new rhythms, routines and ways of being. What was that like? How much of what you do in a day would need to be relearned in a different country or culture? Did you experience discomfort? Who supported you? What did you need to feel settled again?
Further Learning & Commitment
Where do I go from here?
Awareness: For further reading, check out the World Relief Seattle blogposts
Will you commit to this work?
John Perkins Center
World Relief Seattle: Engage with World Relief Seattle
Fill out the Resettlement Story Survey about your experience.