Our City and State Should Take Pride in Being a Leader in the Resettlement of Refugees from Around the World

By: Kate Raley

“H-Town.” Houston. Home of the Astros, 2017 MLB World Champs. A city known for its barbecue, queso, world-class medical centers, oil tycoons, art and Beyoncé. There are many reasons for its 3 million residents to be proud to call Houston home.

As a native Houstonian, the reason that makes me most proud is how many of our neighbors are resettled refugees from conflict zones across the globe.

On this World Refugee Day, I think back to when I attended Houston’s 2014 World Refugee Day celebration. The weather was typical for June: hot and humid. Hundreds of refugees patiently waited to enter the event, some by themselves, others with families.

It was there that I first met the Jandalis, originally from Damascus, Syria. The two parents and their five young children had lived in Houston for a mere two weeks. For two long years prior, they’d survived in a refugee camp in Egypt. Their oldest daughter, Hepa, has severe special needs and their youngest, Miriam, was barely 3. We spent the full day together and began a friendship that’s lasted to this day