The word in this artwork reads “Afghanistan” in Urdu. Artwork by @Alex.Albadree on Instagram.

Family,

We are reeling. As we watch the horror in Afghanistan, grief and rage are tearing through us.

But we are not helpless.

I was just on the phone with my dear friend who has worked and lived in Kabul on and off for fifteen years. He helped build the children’s circus in Afghanistan. Through him, I had watched the circus grow: It was a place where Afghan kids learned how to juggle and do magic, a place where girls found their voice, where children found joy against a backdrop of war.

”They’re burning all evidence of the children’s circus,” he said. “There will be no singing or dancing under the Taliban. And no magic.”

I wanted to scream.

“Listen, we have a refugee crisis ahead,” he said. “And no matter how people are feeling about the U.S. war, we have an obligation now to the thousands who will be persecuted if we don’t act.”

Here was my friend, working day and night to get loved ones he knew on flights out of Kabul. No matter how hopeless I felt, he didn’t need my despair. He needed my hands. I took a breath.

“Okay. What do we do?”

And he sent me information.

My loves, there will be time to assess how we got here, and how our nation failed us since 9/11. But first, we need to get people out. Now.

I invite you to do one thing listed below. And spread the word. What we do now will shape what happens next.

What if this was the moment we made America a safe home for all refugees? What if we turned America into a place where refugees were not banned or detained or caged at the border, but welcomed with support and solidarity? What if we began to reckon with the impact of our nation’s actions globally — and chose consistent repair? Imagine America as a place that sees no stranger. It would be nothing less than revolutionary.

So I breathe with you — and push,
Valarie


How to help immediately

Follow, donate, and share TODAY and this week:

#1  No One Left Behind is working to secure chartered flights and is the key organization helping to evacuate and resettle Afghans in the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) process. These flights are available to any Afghan that is at-risk. Donate on their website. You can follow them on Instagram at @NoOneLeftBehindUS.

#2  International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) is providing legal resources for displaced Afghans, including support for the SIV process and Afghan P-2 refugee program, plus resources for persons not eligible for visa. Donate. You can follow them on Instagram at @RefugeeAssistance.

#3 Church World Services is working to resettle Afghan refugees. Sign-up to sponsor a family arriving in your community. Donate to the resettlement efforts. You can follow them on Instagram at @CWS_Global.


Let your voice be heard

EMAIL your elected officials to urge them to expand refugee protections for Afghans fleeing persecution and violence. Find your representatives and an email script here.


A guided inquiry for this moment

I invite you into this guided inquiry to process emotion and find breath and action.

Notice the grief you have been carrying in your body about what’s happening in the world. Now think about the causes of that grief — the institutions and individuals responsible for the suffering and the loss and injustice. Let images flash before your eyes. Slowly, if it’s available to you, let your fists start to clench.

Notice what it feels like to want to fight back. Notice your fists clench, jaws close, heart beat rise. Your impulse to fight is not something to be ashamed of or to suppress. Honor it. You are alive, and there is something worth fighting for. Then stop, breathe, and ask:

What will you do with this energy? How will you channel the fight impulse into something that gives life? You have a role to play that no one else can play. You don’t have to know all the answers now. You simply need to allow yourself to feel the power that you have, the abilities that you have, the voice that you have, and invite that deepest wisdom inside of you to guide you into what you need to do now and next.

This guided inquiry comes from the FIGHT portal on our Learning Hub. Explore the full Learning Hub, with all our resources, available to you here.

Artwork by @MariaSputnik on Instagram.