Unitarian Universalists launch refugee crisis fund, call for admission of 200,000 refugees to the United States.
A youth carries a young boy in a makeshift sling as migrants walk towards waiting buses at the Hungarian border with Serbia on September 11, 2015 in Roszke, Hungary. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association announced the launch of a refugee crisis fund on September 11, with the goal of raising $250,000 in 15 days.
The UUSC will distribute the funds to partner organizations in countries that are receiving refugees from Syria and other war-ravaged nations. “Our work will focus on ensuring the safe passage of refugees seeking safety and helping refugees access their rights in host countries,” said UUSC President William F. Schulz and UUA President Peter Morales in a joint statement announcing the fund.
“Right now, 11 million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes after four years of civil war,” Schulz and Morales continued. “Worldwide, an estimated 60 million people have been displaced, leading to the largest crisis of forced displacement since World War II. The United States must step up as a leader in aiding these vulnerable people.”
Their appeal also included a link to a petition calling on the U.S. government to raise the number of Syrian refugees it accepts from just over 100 last year to 200,000.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian Unitarian Church issued its own appeal for funds through the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists to support relief services for migrant families in Hungary. Its funds will go to Hungarian Interchurch Aid, an ecumenical organization the Unitarians helped found in 1991. Update 9.14.15: A portion of the UUSC-UUA Refugee Crisis Fund will be sent through the Hungarian Unitarian Church to Hungarian Interchurch Aid, according to the UUA’s International Office.
Update 10.13.15: The UUSC announced that it has raised more than $200,000 so far. Fundraising continues, with a new goal of $350,000. Money will go to partner organizations that are already providing assistance to refugees in Jordan, Hungary, and the United States.
Update 10.28.15: The UUSC announced that the fund has raised more than $370,000.
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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